Star Sara Bareilles, who also wrote the show's music, jokes with EW that Waitress was harder than Into the Woods because of no bathroom breaks.
There are only moments in the woods, which meant Sara Bareilles could get some much-needed relief.
The actress and singer-songwriter has steadily carved out a name for herself on Broadway, first writing the score and doing a stint starring in Waitress: The Musical, before going on to portray the Baker's Wife in last season's revival of Into the Woods. And though both roles are equally demanding, Woods is definitely easier on the bladder. "If I'm going to be honest, there is almost no time off stage with Jenna so if you like to pee, which I do, Jenna is more challenging because there are less bathroom breaks," she quips.
She continues, more seriously, saying, "I think they are both wonderful, complicated roles, with lots and lots to play with and mine. The Baker's Wife — I named her Rebecca, so she was her own person — has so much humor and heart and urgency and desperation; it was a delight to play with someone who was so on the edge and willing to do anything to become a mother, all while trying to stay with one foot in the storybook land of Into the Woods. Jenna has a very complicated journey to go on, a wildly rich interior life and an abusive relationship and a romantic discovery that ultimately leads her back to herself."
Fans can watch Bareilles on that journey when a filmed production of Waitress hits theaters, courtesy of Bleecker Street and Fathom Events, for a five-day engagement beginning Dec. 7.
But if you just can't wait for a taste of Jenna's pie, EW has an exclusive first look above at the musical's opening number.
The number, titled "What's Inside," introduces us to Jenna's world — from her love for baking unique pies to the co-workers she leans on as a refuge from her abusive marriage. "We struggled deeply with finding our opening number during our process," Bareilles admits. "I rewrote the opening probably 15 times. It was maddening! But I think that's why I feel so proud of where we ended up."
For Bareilles, it was about showing the audience a contrast between Jenna's inner monologue and the bustling life around her. "We wanted to place us firmly in the psyche of our leading lady, seeing her inside the question of 'What's Inside' — the introspective moment that bashes right into the life as a waitress at a bustling diner, where you don't have time to slow down. There is too much to do," she explains. "I love the juxtaposition of the interior life and the exterior world. We understand that everyone has an interior world unfolding that is going to take us on the ride."
Increasingly, more shows are turning to this model of filming performances to preserve them for posterity and allow access to a wider audience. Hamilton, which opened the same Broadway season of Waitress, set the gold standard with its Disney+ filming.
"It was a great regret of mine that we never filmed the show during its four-year run on Broadway," Bareilles says of the decision to film Waitress. "So when we got the chance to re-open after Broadway was dark for over a year because of the pandemic, we felt as a team this film was a major priority. The culture around preserving theatrical performance on film has changed a lot in the last handful of years and it is becoming more and more common to mark the life of a show this way."
Bareilles also credits Hamilton with setting the course for this type of distribution. "Certainly, shows like Hamilton help amplify the desire for audiences all over the world to get to see what is happening here in New York on the Broadway stage," she notes. "And as someone who grew up in a small town and had limited access to Broadway, sharing our show this way is deeply meaningful. I just want everyone who wants to see the show to have an accessible way to do it."
Despite being a theater kid for much of her life, Bareilles began her career as a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. Waitress, for which she wrote the music and lyrics, marked her Broadway debut (and as part of the first all-female team on Broadway). But to borrow from another well-loved musical, the experience has changed her life for good — and that's what she hopes to share with audiences with this new filmed version.
"Nothing has changed my life more profoundly than the decision to be a part of the team who created Waitress," she concludes. "This show has changed everything about my professional and personal life for the better, so to get to honor its incredible place in my universe this way is something I will treasure forever. The role of Jenna is so precious to me, as are every person in this cast, crew, and band. This film is a love letter to the show."
Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.