×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sara Bareilles on Making Music with J.J. Abrams, Plus Her ‘Rootsy’ New Album

Waitress” isn’t the only pie Sara Bareilles has baking in the oven.

The California native told Variety at the opening night of “Waitress” at the Pantages in Hollywood that bringing the show she composed, wrote the lyrics for, and starred in–twice–felt like coming home.

“LA was my home for 15 years. I went to UCLA, so there’s just a real sense of pride and gratitude to be able to come home and share this project that has been the great love of my life for the last five years with what feels like a very hometown place for me,” Bareilles said on the red carpet.

The “Gravity” singer, who played pie-maker Jenna Hunterson in March 2017 and again in January 2018 on Broadway, recalled when she jumped at the chance to play the titular waitress.

“When Jessie Mueller, our incredible original lead, left the show, there was a part of me that just raised her hand inside myself of really wanting to get a chance to try. I love the show so much and getting a chance to have a turn to tell the story myself was one of the greatest artistic honors I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

Although her two stints on Broadway eventually came to a close, this year’s Tony Awards co-host is very eager to get back on the stage. “I can’t say enough about how beloved the theater community is to me,” she said.

But even with rave reviews for both her and co-host Josh Groban, don’t expect to see them taking on any bigger hosting duties anytime soon. “That absolutely was not an audition for the Oscars,” she laughed off.

For now, she’s currently busy creating the Apple TV series “Little Voices” with “Waitress” book writer Jessie Nelson and J.J. Abrams. The longtime “Felicity” fan Bareilles was ecstatic to work with Abrams.

“I encountered J.J. at an event and we got to talking. And he’s really always wanted to do something about music. Meanwhile, my partner Jessie [Nelson] was developing a singer-songwriter show and we all just merged forces,” Bareilles shared.

Although the dramedy is still in the “beginning stages,” the singer-songwriter was open to the idea of performing the new music she’s been writing on “Voices.” “Who knows? We haven’t made it yet,” she offered.

One film project she’d be happy to join is “Star Wars.” And while she hasn’t asked Abrams about making a cameo yet, she would be all for appearing in the space saga. “J.J., make it happen!” she said.

Bareilles is also in the midst of writing songs for her new album, which is being recorded in Los Angeles. “It’s a rootsy record that is really reflective of my feelings about the world right now,” she said. “It’s a return to a singer-songwriter record for me.”

While there is no release date yet, Bareilles hopes to share at least one or two songs before the end of 2018.

Variety also caught up with resident Jenna Hunterson at the Pantages, Desi Oakley, who reminisced about how Bareilles taught her how to tie her apron for the show.

“During tech rehearsals, [Bareilles] goes, ‘Desi, let me show you what I did.’ And she tied it up for me. Now I tie my apron like that every single show,” Oakley revealed.

In preparation for the part, Oakley also learned how to bake a pie from her mom. “I had never made a pie before, so my mother flew to New York City and taught me how. It was my great-grandmother’s recipe for a tart cherry pie.”

Speaking of pie, the Pantages made sure to satisfy any stray cravings post-show, as they were selling numerous “Waitress”-dubbed treats in mason jars in the lobby of the theater.

Both Bareilles and Nelson took to the stage after the curtain call, thanking the audience and company of the show. “This is particularly special for Sara and I because this is where I saw my first play when I was 5-years-old,” Nelson told the attendees, who were still standing long after the last bow.

The opening night performance also played host to a “Mean Girls” reunion between Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) and Damian Leigh (Daniel Franzese), who only sat a manner of rows apart and took pictures together to the delight of their fellow theatergoers during Intermission.

Mario LopezNatasha Rothwell (“Insecure,” “Love, Simon”),  Kate Flannery (“The Office”), Courtney Reed (“Aladdin”), Gabrielle Ruiz (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Haley Reinhart (“American Idol”), and Jillian Rose Reed (“Awkward”) were also in attendance Friday night alongside “Waitress” veterans Eddie Jemison, who played “Ogie” in Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film, and Dakin Matthews, who played “Joe” in the original Broadway cast of the show.

“Waitress” is playing Aug. 2-26 at the Pantages Theatre.

More Legit

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

  • Daniel Radcliffe

    Listen: How Broadway Made Daniel Radcliffe a Better Actor

    Acting onstage has been a regular part of Daniel Radcliffe’s career for more than a decade — and the “Harry Potter” star says there’s a good reason for that: It’s made him better. “It gives me a lot of confidence as an actor, which is not always something that I’ve felt,” Radcliffe said on the [...]

  • The Jungle review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Jungle'

    With the rumbling of semis careening by and the sound of Middle Eastern music in the distance, “The Jungle” aims to vividly immerse audiences into the world of the real-life migrant and refugee camp of the same name. By telling the story of the Jungle’s creation in Calais, France, in 2015, and its eventual destruction [...]

  • Hillary Clinton'Network' play opening night, New

    Hillary Clinton Attends Opening of Broadway's 'Network'

    A 1976 film might not be expected to translate seamlessly to Broadway in 2018, but for the cast and creative team behind “Network,” which premiered Thursday night with Hillary Clinton in the audience, the story still feels uncomfortably close to home. “It was a satire then, and now it’s documentary realism,” said Lee Hall, who [...]

  • 'Network' Review: Bryan Cranston Stars on

    Broadway Review: 'Network' With Bryan Cranston

    The 1976 film “Network” won four Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for writer Paddy Chayefsky, for its blistering portrayal of an American society fueled by greed and bloated on corruption. A haggard Peter Finch took the best actor trophy for his harrowing performance as Howard Beale, a TV newsman who is so disgusted by [...]

  • Faye DunawayVanity Fair Oscar Party, Arrivals,

    Faye Dunaway to Play Katharine Hepburn on Broadway

    Faye Dunaway will return to Broadway to play another acting diva. The Oscar-winner is set to portray Katharine Hepburn in “Tea at Five,” a one-woman play that charts the movie legend’s career over the course of a winding monologue. Dunaway last appeared on Broadway in 1982’s “The Curse of the Aching Heart.” In the 1990s, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content