Jennifer Nettles stars as Jenna in Waitress at the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. She is a singer, songwriter, and actress, best known for her award-winning musical career as part of the country duo Sugarland.
Jennifer Odessa Nettles was born September 12, 1974 in Douglas, Georgia. She got her start performing at school assemblies, church, in community theatre, and in Georgia 4-H's Clovers & Company performing arts group. She went on to graduate from Agnes Scott College in 1997 with a degree in sociology and anthropology. She formed the group Soul Miner's Daughter while there, an acoustic duo she led with fellow student Cory Jones, and released two albums. In 1999, she formed the Jennifer Nettles Band, with which she released three studio albums and two live albums. The band won The Big Deal $100,000 Music Search in 2000.
In 2003, she formed Sugarland with Kristen Hall and Kristian Bush. Hall left the band in 2006, but the remaining duo went on to have a successful music career. As part of Sugarland, Nettles has released six studio albums, a compilation album, and a live album. The band was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006 but did not win; two years later, however, Sugarland won two Grammys for best country song and best country performance by a duo or group. Four of their albums are certified platinum, and the band has had 11 top 10 singles on the country charts.
Nettles has also had a prolific solo career, releasing four solo studio albums and two live albums. She was featured as a guest vocalist on "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" with Bon Jovi in 2005, and the song reached number one on the Billboard country chart and won a Grammy for best country collaboration with vocals.
As an actress, Nettles has played Dolly Parton's mother in Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors and the sequel Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, Aimee-Leigh Gemstone in The Righteous Gemstones, and Eliza Brodress in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet. She made her Broadway debut in 2015 in the lead role of Roxie Hart.