NEW YORK - The Broadway musical "Waitress" is getting a new star, with singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles -- who wrote the music for the show -- set to make her Broadway debut Friday.
Bareilles has earned Tony and Grammy nominations for her music, but she says actually taking the stage is a true "pinch me" moment.
"When we got word that (lead actress) Jessie (Mueller) would be moving on, when Jessie Mueller would be moving on from the role, I had this little spark in me that ignited," she said.
In order to fully understand why the role is especially meaningful, it's important to know that Bareilles found a home for herself on stage when she was in high school, before she reached the top of the charts.
"I was a chubby little kid and kind of got made fun of and felt very insecure," she said. "I couldn't quite find my people, and then I got introduced to theater. And I was all of a sudden embraced and encouraged and celebrated."
The first time Bareilles saw her name on the Broadway Marquee, her feeling of joy was obvious.
"The journey that I've been on, even with my relationship to the show, and now it coming to fruition in this way, and stepping into being on stage, I mean, it's pretty profound," she said.
During rehearsals, she questioned her decision, calling it a "pretty good bad idea," facing challenges such as remembering the many moves in the show.
"The challenging part, I think, is just stepping into a very vulnerable and very exposed place as a brand new actor," she said. "It's something that's been incredibly intimidating to me."
Despite her reservations about the role, Bareilles is embracing those challenges.
"There's a lot of times I've been thinking, 'Well, if I forget what happens, I'll just start singing,'" she said.
At the end of the day, she's making her dreams come true by starring in "Waitress" on Broadway.