As more and more artists from the pop world add writing a Broadway musical to their career-goal lists, Sara Bareilles stands out as one of the brightest success stories from that group.
Waitress — the musical adaptation of Adrienne Shelly’s beloved independent film, featuring music and lyrics by Bareilles — was an unequivocal Broadway hit, running for nearly four years after an opening in April 2016.
That year, Bareilles’ score earned her two Tony nominations (out of a total four for the show), and she went on to perform the lead role of Jenna for three different stints. The production played London’s West End as well as internationally, garnered a Grammy nomination for its original Broadway cast recording, and yielded both a standalone Bareilles album (What’s Inside: Songs From Waitress, released on Epic Records between the show’s off-Broadway and Broadway runs) and a film of the stage show (which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2023).
Now, Bareilles — who’s been warmly embraced by the wider theater community, and racked up another Tony nomination last year for her portrayal of The Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods — is making her return to Broadway.
She’s writing the music and lyrics for The Interestings, an adaptation of the New York Times bestselling novel by Meg Wolitzer with a book by Pulitzer- and Tony-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl.
The plot of Wolitzer’s novel revolves around character Jules Jacobson and her friends from an exclusive childhood arts camp (the titular Interestings, as they call themselves) who grow up to find varying degrees of success and satisfaction or disillusionment with where a creative life has led them.
When it came out in 2013, the Times called it “warm, all-American, and acutely perceptive about the motivations of its characters,” likening it to modern Great American Novels and praising Wolitzer’s “inclusive vision and generous sweep.” With its complex, layered female protagonist and diverse cast of characters, as well as the knotty themes it explores — ranging from what qualifies as success to whether being extraordinary is the only path to it — the book seems rich material for musical adaptation, and it’s easy to see why it appealed to Bareilles, whose Waitress balanced the buoyant with the bittersweet.
The Interestings is being produced by Matt Ross, and is currently in development; additional creative team and production details will be announced in the coming months.
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