2017 has been a year of personal growth. And when this journey started, I was in search of a musical companion that could offer me strength, humor, and vulnerability in the times I needed it most. And in walked Waitress.
Waitress is a musical currently running on Broadway. Go see it. The music was written by Sara Bareilles, and the entire team of show creators is female. Go see it. It's the story of Jenna, a young waitress who makes "Biblically good" pies for a small town diner. And when she finds out she's pregnant with her abusive husband's baby, she has no other option but to find within herself the inner strength to carry on and find freedom. The rest of the show is her journey to self-discovery, where the audience gets to cry, laugh, and sing along through her stumbles and triumphs to becoming the best version of herself. So without all the carbohydrates and circumstance, she's all of us. She's me. (Bring back in all the carbohydrates and she's definitely me.)
From the first moment I listened to the opening song, I could not get enough of this soundtrack. First and foremost, it starred Jessie Mueller, who I absolutely love, adore and respect. She's incredibly talented, the forerunner in her field, and incredibly humble despite her unbelievable talents. She's a Tony winner, her voice is perfect, she's so beautiful, and I've never met a kinder pair of eyes in my life. (More on that later.) So she's a huge part of my love for the show. But then, mix in incredibly catchy music, deeply moving lyrics, a strong story of overcoming tragedy, and have it all performed by a stellar cast? I'm so in.
Oh, and they bake a pie in the lobby of every show, so the whole time you're watching, you're smelling (and eating if you order it from concessions) freshly baked pie. Go. See. It.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I've always wanted to use my design skills in some sort of conjunction with Waitress, and I've finally put pencil to paper to make it happen. Why the sudden spark of inspiration? Funny you should ask.
I GOT TO MEET JESSIE MUELLER THIS WEEK. And here's how it all went down.
Long story short, I bought tickets for a charity concert that she would be performing in, and I upgraded my tickets to include a meet-and-greet. I wasn't sure how it would go, as I tend to get a little tongue-tied when I'm around people I revere as much as her, but I didn't say anything stupid, and I actually got to tell her how much I appreciate all she does for theatre. She looked into my eyes as I told her how her voice, above anyone else's on the planet, has pulled me out of more dark days than anyone else. It was amazing. She was moved. I was moved. And we hugged. And got this picture that I and my mascara somehow held it together for.
So, we met. And then I had a meltdown. But after that, I woke up inspired to create something to say thank you, for the millionth time, to Jessie, Sara, and the entire cast and crew of Waitress. This show changed my life for the better in a time when I wasn't really sure what to do. I found, in Jenna, the strength to move through my own struggles and into something more beautiful — and sweet — than I could have ever imagined.
Sugar, butter, thank you!