Sara Barielles is in the midst of a ten-week run as Jenna, a Southern pie-maker stuck in a loveless marriage in the popular Broadway musical, “Waitress.” What’s more daunting than the play itself is that Barielles is a Broadway novice taking over the lead role previously held by Tony winner Jessie Mueller. Despite previous nervous energy, Barielles, who wrote the play’s music and lyrics, seems to be thriving.
Everyone at the show seems none too surprised at her transition from four-time Grammy nominee pop star to musical ingénue. Bernie Telsey, founder of casting office Telsey + Company who helped pick up the pop star, says the four-time Grammy nominee “…exudes emotions and she exudes storytelling… All of her songs are so emotional and do tell a story and in some ways, she’s already acting through song.” Her co-stars agree. Co-star Will Swenson jokingly made comments on how she’s a natural. He says, “I think she’s been suppressing the desperate desire to do musicals and this pesky pop stardom overtook this musical actress’s career. It’s just been a big distraction for her.”
Barielles stars in “Waitress” until June 11. It has not been confirmed whether or not she’ll continue in the role, but the odds are looking good. Her debut sold out the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Her stardom helped shatter its record for highest-grossing single performance with a hefty $180,000 box office total. Although her character Jenna’s fate is uncertain, Sara Barielles’ future is looking sweet.