VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Jordin Sparks On Her Role In ‘Waitress,’ Return To Broadway, Sara Bareilles
Jordin Sparks is returning to Broadway to appear in the hit musical Waitress, which is based on the 2007 romantic comedy-drama film of the same name.
The 29-year-old R&B singer and Grammy nominee — who in 2007 became the youngest American Idol winner in history at the age of 17 — plays the protagonist, Jenna Hunterson and will be performing in Waitress in a run that will begin on Monday (September 16) and end on October 27. The musical is about a small-town waitress who is trapped in an abusive marriage until she meets a charming doctor who helps her through her pregnancy. Former Smash and Scorpion star Katharine McPhee previously starred in the lead role.
Sparks, who previously appeared on Broadway in 2010’s In The Heights, spoke with uInterview exclusively about her character in Waitress, which features music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles.
“Jenna Hunterson is her name and she’s really strong even though sometimes she doesn’t know it or believe it,” said Sparks. “She can be a little — I don’t know if ‘salty’ is the word — she can have a little bit of attitude but I think that she deserves to depending on what she’s going through.”
“She’s really kind, she’s always thinking of other people and how she can help them,” she added of her character. “In the midst of everything and the turmoil she’s going through, she still has that innate kindness about her that just can never be tainted because that’s just who she is.”
Sparks revealed she and her character have several things in common, including an instinctively kind nature.
“I feel like my kindness can sometimes be mistaken for weakness, which it’s not,” said Sparks, pointing her finger affirmatively. “I always want to help other people, I always want to make people smile and help them have a good time or work through things that they need to work through.”
Sparks also confessed she was initially fearful of not being able to perform her role in Waitress due to the “huge commitment” level. However, she ultimately found her rhythm and practiced hard to continue her second run on Broadway.
“With the support of the entire cast and my family and my husband, it’s been really great to learn this character and to put myself into her as well,” said Sparks.
The singer also spoke about the challenges she faced in her return to the Broadway stage for the first time in nine years.
“It feels new, the challenge of learning everything,” said Sparks. “I still get giddy and I’m really excited about everything. The challenge this time around is figuring out how to keep all of this and [having] the mental capacity to learn it all,” she added before saying her 16-month-old son provides a welcome distraction from her rigorous performance and its mental and physical requirements.
Sparks also lamented not being able to speak with Bareilles about her new role in Waitress, but praised the singer-songwriter for her vision for the musical.
“She’s a musical genius, and I hope she stops by so I can tell her that to her face,” Sparks said of Bareilles, laughing.