The intervalny.com website that describes itself as “a virtual home for female voices of the theatre, with the goals (in part) of changing the conversation around women in theatre by asking smart ladies smart questions for a smart audience,” talked to Evanston native and Tony Award-winning actress Jessie Mueller in an inverview posted earlier this week.
Mueller, who won the Tony for best actress in a musical for her portrayal of the title role in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” is currently starring on Broadway in “Waitress,” the Sara Bareilles musical based on the 2007 film of the same name, comes from a family of thespians, who have made their mark on Chicago’s stages (no stranger herself to Chicago’s theater audiences, Mueller won her first Jeff Award in 2008 for her role as Carrie Pipperidge in “Carousel” at Court Theatre). She’s the daughter of actors Jill and Roger Mueller; her brothers Andrew and Matt are also accomplished actors, and her sister Abby, stepped into the role of Carole King for the national touring production of “Beautiful,” which played here last year.
In the interview, Mueller talks about staying true to herself as a person and an actress:
“I think I got really lucky in that people didn’t know what to do with me. I never felt like I was the pretty ingénue, so I think I figured out — whether I was really conscious of it or not — that’s not what my calling card is, so I’ve got to figure out something else. I have to do something different than other people do. Growing up, as a young girl, you see all these images out there, and I just felt like, “I don’t look like that. I don’t look like a musical theatre girl.” I think, in the beginning, I was really afraid that that was going to be a roadblock for me because in my mind I thought, “Well, I don’t look right and I don’t sound like everybody else.” I think I learned, too, like most of us do, no one else sees us the way we see ourselves. I think in a lot of ways, like I said, I got lucky that people were confused by me, and in a way, that ended up being a really good thing for me, because I didn’t feel like I had one thing that I was good at or one thing I was supposed to develop because I didn’t really have anybody saying that to me.”
Read the full interview here.