Based on the 2007 film starring Keri Russell, Waitress tells the story of Jenna Hunterson, currently played by Betsy Wolfe, a pregnant pie maker in an unhappy marriage who falls in love with her married gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter. “Suddenly this patient comes along who disarms him and has him step out of his comfort zone; a boring marriage,” the two-time Grammy Award-winning singer songwriter explains of the role. “The trickiest part is to basically do Groundhog Day [and] fall in love with Jenna every day, or believe you are hearing those words for the very first time. So far, it’s a rush to try and do that. I love that I get to still be an entertainer to my highest level, but it’s not about me.”
For the record, Mraz says he didn’t visit his local OB GYN to prep for the role, even though the doctor’s office was right next to his dentist. “Thankfully, Wikipedia has enough information that brings one up to speed on obstetrics,” he says.
Mraz, who had experience doing plays like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in high school, nearly “pooped his pants” when he was offered the part during a casual email exchange with the musical’s composer-lyricist, Sara Bareilles. “I am wondering on behalf of our dear ‘Waitress’ if you’d ever have any interest in doing a short stint as Dr. Pomatter,” the note read. “It was more of a side conversation,” Mraz, explains of the email. “It was almost like a second thought -- it was so cute.”
The first person Mraz called was his mother (who said being on Broadway would “look good on his resume”) to get advice from her on whether to accept such an exciting opportunity. “I was more nervous answering that email than I have been about the rest of this process. I had to either say yes and go all in or say no and never know what this is going to be like. I was terribly nervous, because what if I am not right for the part? Or what if I’m a failure?” Mraz slept on the idea and accepted the job the next day.