Sara Bareilles Thrilled About Jumping to Broadway With Stage Remake of 'Waitress': 'I'm Living Out My Dreams

Sara Bareilles
Courtesy Photo

Sara Bareilles, a lifelong fan of musicals, wasn’t looking to write one when the idea for a stage remake of Waitress came her way; she had just moved to New York in 2013 and thought she might try acting. But the match between the singer-songwriter, 35, and the late Adrienne Shelly’s poignant 2007 film, about a pie-baking waitress stuck in an abusive marriage, turned out to be an auspicious one. Following its Aug. 2 premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., Waitress will make the jump to Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre next spring.

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What convinced you that this film was worth turning into a musical?

It’s charming and odd. There's a lot of people making mistakes. It’s not an upstanding society we’re getting a glimpse into: The love story’s between two adulterers!

Is there any theater nerdery in your past? Your music videos have often felt like mini-musicals.

I’m living out my dreams. (Laughs.) My sister and mom were both in theater, and it was this whole discovery for me to see the community of cast and crew. I was in Little Shop of Horrors — I played Audrey and a street urchin — and Charlotte’s Web as a kid. Soundtracks like Miss Saigon and Oklahoma! were my introduction to being a listener.

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Are there similarities in writing a good pop song and a good musical-theater number?

Yeah. I’ve tried to make these songs able to stand on their own. I want them to be telling a story, where you don’t need the accouterments of theater to know what’s happening. That has been the coolest rediscovery for me: that songs are all about storytelling.

This story originally appeared in the Sept. 5 issue of Billboard.


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