Sara Bareilles starred in Into the Woods at the St. James Theatre on Broadway.
Sara Beth Bareilles was born on December 7, 1979 in Eureka, California. During her high school days, she was a member of the choir Limited Edition and appeared in musical theater productions, notably playing Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. She graduated in 1998 and went on to study communications at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also became a member of the a cappella group Awaken a Cappella. She graduated from UCLA in 2002.
Bareilles immediately pursued a career in the music industry from that point onwards, recording two live demos — The First One in April 2003 and The Summer Sessions in October 2003 — and playing in bars and larger venues in the California area. She appeared as a singer in a bar in the movie Girl Play in 2004 and released her first studio album Careful Confessions that same year, which led to her signing with Epic Records in 2005.
Bareilles spent the next couple of years touring and gigging until her international breakthrough came in 2007 with the release of her second studio album (and first under a major label), Little Voice, and, in particular, the single "Love Song." The track ultimately went to the number 4 spots on both the Billboard Hot 100 and UK charts. She would release two further studio albums: Kaleidoscope Heart hit the top spot of the Billboard charts in 2010, and The Blessed Unrest reached the number 2 spot in 2013. At this point in her music career, Bareilles had earned a total of five Grammy Award nominations, including Song of the Year for "Love Song" in 2009 and Album of the Year for The Blessed Unrest in 2014.
It was confirmed that Bareilles would write the score for the Broadway musical Waitress in 2013. She also re-worked the songs and released them as her fifth studio album, What's Inside: Songs from Waitress, in November 2015, reaching the Top 10 of the Billboard charts. Her work on the musical Waitress earned her a first Tony Award nomination in 2016 and her sixth Grammy Award nomination in 2017.
In April 2018, Bareilles garnered wide acclaim for her portrayal of Mary Magdalene in NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, leading to her first Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie her and seventh Grammy Award nomination, for Best Musical Theater Album.
Bareilles made her stage acting debut as Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid at The Hollywood Bowl in June 2016. She finally made her Broadway debut, assuming the leading role of Jenna in Waitress from original cast member Jessie Mueller, on March 31, 2017 and played a limited engagement through June 11, 2017. Subsequently, she played a special return engagement as Jenna from January 16 through to March 11, 2018, and returned for a third stint at the diner (alongside Tony Award winner Gavin Creel) from January 7 to February 3, 2019. She also played Jenna in the West End production of Waitress in 2020.