Sara Bareilles first became aware of Jessie Mueller when she saw her on opening night of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, in which the actress played iconic King. “I left just so moved by her performance that I went back to the creative team of Waitress and said, ‘You guys have to see this woman,'” Bareilles recently told Rolling Stone. “She is just stunning.”
Bareilles was working on the score for the musical adaptation of the 2007 indie film of the same name about a pie-baking waitress named Jenna who is dealing with trying to gain independence in her small-town life. Mueller, who won the Tony for her performance in Beautiful, was interested in playing Jenna, and she ended up being the first to be cast for the Broadway show, which opened this spring and has now been nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Bareilles and Best Performance by an Actress for Mueller.
“I don’t want to sound like her, but I wanted to sound like her music,” Mueller, a fan of the singer-songwriter’s previous albums, explains. Here, she picks her 10 favorite Bareilles songs from the past and present.