In the latest case of an artist from the popular music world getting a taste of Broadway, Jason Mraz has signed up for a 10-week run in the hit musical, Waitress.
The two-time Grammy Award winner begins performances in the show Nov. 3, in the role of Dr. Pomatter, the complicated love interest of unhappily married Deep South diner server Jenna, who hopes her creative pie-making skills might be her ticket to a better life.
While the role will mark Mraz's Broadway debut, it represents something of a reprise for the musician, who recorded two of his character's numbers, "Bad Idea" and "You Matter to Me," as duets with composer Sara Bareilles on her top 10 album What's Inside: Songs From Waitress.
The strategy of bringing in a popular music artist has already worked well for the show, when Bareilles stepped in as Jenna for a strong-selling six-week run earlier this year, replacing the musical's Tony-nominated original lead, Jessie Mueller. Long-running hit Kinky Boots also saw a hike at the box office with the recruitment in May for a 10-week run of Panic! at the Disco lead singer Brendon Urie in a starring role. The fan bases of Bareilles and Urie nudged grosses on both shows up to north of $1 million a week during their appearances.
Waitress officially opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24 last year, following a month of previews. Based on the 2007 Fox Searchlight movie of the same title, written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, the show features a book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by Bareilles, direction by Diane Paulus and choreography by Lorin Latarro, making it the first Broadway musical with an all-female creative team.
Mraz, who has sold 48 million singles worldwide, and this month celebrates the 15th anniversary of his major-label debut, Waiting For My Rocket Man to Come, will appear opposite current lead Betsy Wolfe in the show.
Waitress has grossed $72.9 million on Broadway to date, and while its weekly box office remains respectable, averaging in the $600,000 range, fans of Mraz stand to provide a significant sales boost.