New Sara Bareilles Musical “Waitress”

I have been quite fond of Sara Bareilles for a long time. I have been going to a twice a week water aerobics class with Sara Bareilles’ Aunt June since before Sara was a multi-award winner, grammy-nominated household name whose song “Brave” is one of the most popular songs of the century.

Sara and Aunt June

Sara and Aunt June


Through June’s periodic updates to the class, I heard about Sara’s hard work over the years and slow but steady rise to fame and felt proud to watch her on TV and see how lovely, kind and authentic she is. So, I was very interested when June told me, about two years ago, that Sara had been approached to write the songs for a new musical based on the 2007 film “Waitress” (written by Adrienne Shelly and starring Kerri Russell).

Well, after a relatively short development period and a few public readings, the world premiere run of Waitress the musical is scheduled for American Repertory Theater at Harvard University (A.C.T.) August 2-September 27, 2015 (Opening Night August 19) starring Jessie Mueller (Tony-award winning Best Actress for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical) under the direction of the amazing Diane Paulus (whose Pippin had me and thousands of other Broadway goers literally breathless and on their feet), with choreography by Chase Brock (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark). In addition to Jessie Mueller, the cast is made up of experienced Broadway actors: Jeanna de Waal (Kinky Boots), Drew Gehling (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) , Dakin Matthews (The Audience) , Keala Settle (Les Misérables), and Joe Tippett (Airline Highway).


“Waitress” Diner set; A.R.T. website

When I asked  if I could include a direct quote from Sara about this project, she found time in the midst of hectic rehearsals just a few days away from the first preview to email this:

Working on Waitress has been a great adventure for me. I had no idea what I was saying yes to, but it has turned out to be supremely challenging but, thankfully, equally fulfilling. It has been a long road of working on this; for over 2 and a half years at this point, but we are nearing our first opening night and I’m very excited!


"Waitress" choreographer Chase Brock working with Jesse Meuller and Jeanna de Waal in rehearsal  Photo: Amanda Martin

“Waitress” choreographer Chase Brock working with Jesse Meuller and Jeanna de Waal in rehearsal
Photo: Amanda Martin

I can’t say if Sara Bareilles is the chicken or the egg here, but I do know that she is a key ingredient in a gourmet omelet of personalities, talent and resources that has resulted in a new musical going from concept to pre-Broadway opening in this short a period of time. It may feel long to Sara, but it actually is pretty fast in comparison to most new musicals.  The more common route is to have many frustrating attempts to get a show into a festival or a workshop, or even read by a potential producer and, if you’re very lucky, have a world premiere in Cleveland four, five or six years later. But, that’s showbiz. Some very smart producers bought some rights and put together a fabulous team.

If there’s no such thing as a sure thing, that goes double in the theatre. But, if I was to predict: the strong story material, Sara’s built-in fan base and undeniable song-writing gifts, coupled with the veteran and talented cast and artistic team, make this as close to a can’t-lose musical to be eyeing Broadway in a very long time.

And I’m rooting for it sight unseen.  Break a leg Sara!


Apparently, talent runs in the family and Sara’s sister Jennifer Bareilles will be starring in a new play called Maybe Tomorrow which will show at the New York Fringe festival in the next couple of weeks.  Click the link to check out the trailer.

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1 Comment

  1. George Fairbrook
    Sep 22, 2015

    As a former waiter and lover of music, I was intrigued by your post about the musical “Waitress” opening on the East coast. I never realized how much work goes into a play (2 1/2 years in this case)!

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