► Jason Mraz Says Broadway Has Transformed Him

For this Grammy winner, starring in the musical "Waitress" is a "retreat center" from life on the road.

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Jason Mraz
Jason Mraz stars alongside Betsy Wolfe (and for two weeks, Sara Bareilles) in "Waitress" on Broadway, in a limited run through late January.

Today on The Scene, The CFR’s Executive Editor Leonard Jacobs joins me for an interview with multi-Grammy winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, currently starring in Broadway’s Waitress. I’ll start with a short conversation with Jacobs on the importance of the show, and then later Mraz will share his reflections on how his new experience with theater is going.

A little background, of course—Jason Mraz is a singer-songwriter whose albums include Waiting for my Rocket to Come, Mr. A-Z, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things., Love is a Four Letter Word and Yes!. Waiting for My Rocket to Come was also just re-released in a 15th anniversary vinyl edition. He has won two Grammys, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, in addition to numerous other awards, including the People’s Choice Award for Male Artist, ASCAP Song of the Year and the Songwriter Hall of Fame Hal David Award. He tours extensively around the world and has earned Platinum and multi-Platinum certifications in over 20 countries.

Now he makes his Broadway debut as Dr. Pomatter in Waitress, directed by Diane Paulus, with a book by Jessie Nelson and music and lyrics from Sara Bareilles. The musical, based on the film by Adrienne Shelly, tells the story of Jenna, a waitress trapped in a loveless marriage, looking for a way out of her small town. It’s been nominated for numerous awards, including the 2016 Tony Award for Best Musical, and a regional tour of show also began in October of this year. Mraz stars opposite Betsy Wolfe as Jenna, but for two weeks in January he will perform opposite Bareilles, who returns to the role until the end of February. In our conversation, Mraz describes how positive his time with the show has been. He discusses the value of working on the first Broadway show ever with an all-female creative team and how this new experience onstage has nourished him both professionally and emotionally. Mraz joins us a few minutes into the episode, after Jacobs offers some insight into what has made Waitress so successful.

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Sean Douglass

Sean Douglass is the Managing Editor of The Clyde Fitch Report, as well as an author, playwright and dramaturg. He is the Company Dramaturg for Something Marvelous, Chicago’s annual magical realism festival, and has previously worked at Northlight Theatre and Chicago Dramatists. His plays have been produced or developed at UW-Madison, The Vermont College of Fine Arts, The Chicago Fringe Festival, Luminous Theatre of Milwaukee, Something Marvelous, Chicago Dramatists and Stagecloud. He hosts the CFR’s podcast The Scene and is also an arts writer for the digital news publication Rantt.