Jessie Mueller

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Jessie Mueller
Born Jessica Ruth Mueller
(1983-02-20) February 20, 1983 (age 35)
Evanston, Illinois
Alma mater Syracuse University
Occupation Actor, singer
Years active 2005–present
Partner(s) Andy Truschinski

Jessica Ruth Mueller (born February 20, 1983)[1] is an American actor and singer. She started her acting career in Chicago and won a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2008 for her role as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel. In 2011, she moved to New York City to star in a Broadway revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. She won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. She also received two additional Tony Award best actress nominations for her roles in Waitress in 2016 and in the Broadway revival of Carousel in 2018.

Early years[edit]

Mueller was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, the daughter of actors Jill (née Shellabarger) and Roger Mueller. Her brothers, Andrew and Matt, and sister, Abby, are all actors, known for their work in the Chicago theatre community, Broadway, and Off-Broadway.[2][3][4] Mueller is Lutheran.[5] She graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2001 and from Syracuse University in 2005.[6]

Career[edit]

2005–2011: Chicago theatre[edit]

After graduation, Mueller returned to Chicago and acted for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, traveling in 2006 to England to perform at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon as Lady Mortimer in Henry IV. She followed this with various roles in the Chicago area including Lizzie Fields in Baby, Once Upon a Mattress as the Lady-In Waiting, and Esther in Meet Me in St. Louis. At the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois, she performed roles in Shout! The Mod Musical, Shenandoah, Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. In 2009 Mueller performed in two musicals at the Goodman Theatre, Animal Crackers as Grace/Mary and A Christmas Carol as Belle/Catherine.[7][8][9]

In 2011, she was named Actor of the Year by the Chicago Tribune and also was nominated for two Joseph Jefferson Awards, winning Best Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance as Amalia Balash in She Loves Me.[10][11][12][13][14]

2011–2017: Broadway debut and initial success[edit]

Mueller made her Broadway debut in a revised revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever as Melinda Wells, a role originated by Barbara Harris. The musical opened in December 2011. Mueller received critical praise for her performance, with one reviewer commenting "...Her voice contains notes of Garland, but she’s no diva — this is a star of supreme self-possession".[15] For this role, Mueller was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.[16][17][18][19]

Mueller portrayed Cinderella in a 2012 Public Theater production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods at the Delacorte Theater.

Mueller next was cast in the role of Helena Landless / Miss Janet Conover in Roundabout Theatre Company's 2012 revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. She then took over the role of Billie Bendix in Nice Work If You Can Get It, from March 29, 2013 until the show closed on June 15, 2013.[20] Also in 2013, she once again took on the role of Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel at Lincoln Center in a staged concert production backed by the New York Philharmonic – a special that was filmed and aired on PBS' Live from Lincoln Center.

Mueller appeared in the musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which opened on Broadway on January 12, 2014. She originated the title role of Carole King. She had performed this role in the try-out in San Francisco in 2013. She won the Drama Desk Award and Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. She left the Broadway production on March 6, 2015.[21][22][23] On February 8, 2015, Mueller won a Grammy award for Best Musical Theater Album (shared with Carole King (music and lyrics), and producers Jason Howland, Steve Sidwell & Billy Jay Stein).[24]

On April 27, 2015, Mueller was the recipient of the Sarah Siddons Society Award at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois.[25]

Mueller reprised her role as Jenna in the musical adaptation of the film Waitress on Broadway, having previously played the role in a workshop of the musical in late 2014.[26][27] With music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and direction by Diane Paulus, the musical premiered at the American Repertory Theater in August 2015.[28] Waitress opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24, 2016. Mueller was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award, among others, for her performance. Mueller also received critical praise for her performance. Charles Isherwood for the New York Times noted: "But it is when Ms. Mueller tears into the musical’s climactic number, 'She Used to Be Mine,' that her talents are most fully and movingly harnessed... Ms. Mueller’s vibrant performance of this gentle but wrenching song, featuring a melody that soars and then recedes in waves, is the high point of the show — and for that matter a high point of the Broadway season. Suddenly, a pleasant and polished but weightless musical comedy rises to transporting heights, and sweeps up your heart along with it."[29] Mueller left the production on March 26, 2017.[30][31] Mueller's performance also earned her a 2016 Lilly Award for its message of female empowerment and safety.[32][33]

2017–present: Film debut and Carousel[edit]

In April 2017, shortly after her departure from Waitress, it was announced that Mueller would next portray the lead role of Julie Jordan in a Broadway revival of Carousel. The production began previews on February 28, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre and opened on April 12.[34][35] The production closed on September 16, 2018.[36]

Before beginning Carousel rehearsals, Mueller made her feature film debut in Steven Spielberg's historical drama The Post. Mueller portrayed real life advice columnist Judith Martin (a.k.a. Miss Manners), alongside a cast including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, and Carrie Coon. The film was released in select theaters on December 22, 2017 before expanding wide on January 12, 2018.[37]

Also in 2017, Mueller was nominated for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for her performance[38] in the Lyric Opera's Chicago Voices concert,[39] which was filmed and aired on WTTW earlier in the year.[40]

In 2018, Mueller received three major nominations for her role as Julie Jordan, including her fifth Drama Desk nomination (and second win)[41][42] and her fourth Tony Award nomination.[43] She is the first actress in any production of Carousel on Broadway to receive such nominations for the role.

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, Mueller met and began a relationship with film producer/director and fellow actor, Andy Truschinski, while performing opposite him as Belle (Truschinski played Young Scrooge) in the Goodman Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. The couple reside together in New York City.[44][45][46][47][48][49]

Activism and philanthropy[edit]

Mueller has worked frequently with the Broadway community to raise awareness and funds for various causes including LGBT+ rights, anti-gun violence, women's rights, adoption, and other social issues. She supports Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS,[50][51] and has appeared on multiple volumes of their annual Carols for a Cure albums.[52][53] In 2016, she was among numerous performers who teamed with Broadway personality Seth Rudetsky to record a cover of "What The World Needs Now" to support the LGBT Community of Central Florida after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando;[54] the movement would include a benefit concert in Orlando[55] as well as an appearance on Maya & Marty.[56] Later that year, Mueller would again work with Rudetsky and his husband James Wesley to formulate the idea for Concert for America, a series of concerts supporting various social justice organizations.[57][58][59]

Mueller is also known for her work supporting the arts and arts education. In 2014, Mueller performed at the launch of the FWD Theatre Project, a grassroots effort to support the creation of new musicals in the Chicago theatre community.[60] In 2015, she performed with fellow Beautiful alum Jarrod Spector in a series of concerts benefitting various arts organizations.[61] In 2016, she and partner Andy Truschinski were honored by the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York with the Abe L. Blinder Award for Public Service and Arts Education.[62] Mueller also recorded a song for the Museum of Modern Art's Pop! Goes the Easel album, a collection of children's songs inspired by works featured in the museum.[63] In 2017, Mueller served as a mentor for students in Rosie's Theatre Kids, an organization started by actress and public personality Rosie O'Donnell to train and support youth in the performing arts.[64] Mueller continues to support her own alma maters, performing at a benefit showcase for Evanston Township High School's YAMO theatre program in 2017[65] and providing opportunities for meetings and talkbacks with Syracuse University drama students.[66] In her spare time, Mueller teaches master classes to young aspiring performers.[67][68][69][70]

Theatre credits[edit]

Year Title Role Theatre Director(s) Ref.
2005 Once Upon a Mattress Ensemble (u.s. Winnifred) Drury Lane Theatre Ray Frewen
2006 Baby Lizzie Fields Theatre at the Center
Henry IV, Part 1 & Part 2 Lady Mortimer (u.s. Doll Tearsheet) Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Barbara Gaines
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
2006–07 The Three Musketeers Cecile/Ensemble Chicago Shakespeare Theatre David H. Bell
2007 Shenandoah Jenny Anderson Marriott Theatre
How Can You Run With a Shell On Your Back? Daisy Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Peter Flynn
2008 Carousel Carrie Pipperidge Court Theatre Charles Newell
Long Wharf Theatre
Willy Wonka Veruca Salt Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Joe Leonardo
All Shook Up Natalie Haller Marriott Theatre
Meet Me in St. Louis Esther Smith Drury Lane Theatre Jim Corti
2008–09 The Bowery Boys Ensemble Marriott Theatre
2009 Curtains Niki Harris Drury Lane Theatre William Brown
Animal Crackers Grace Carpenter/
Mary Stewart
Goodman Theatre Henry Wishcamper
A Christmas Carol Belle/Catherine William Brown
2010 Fiddler on the Roof Tzeitel Marriott Theatre David H. Bell
Sleeping Beauty Princess Amber Matt Raftery
Over the Tavern Annie Pazinski Peninsula Players Kristine Thatcher
A Little Night Music Anne Egerman Greg Vinkler
She Loves Me Amalia Balash Writers Theatre Michael Halberstam
2011 Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide Marriott Theatre Matt Raftery
Merrily We Roll Along Mary Flynn The Music Theatre Company Jessica Redish
Shout! The Mod Musical The Blue Girl Marriott Theatre Rachel Rockwell
2011–12 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Melinda Wells St. James Theatre Michael Mayer
2012 Into the Woods Cinderella The Public Theater (Shakespeare in the Park) Timothy Sheader
and Liam Steel
2012–13 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Helena Landless/
Miss Janet Conover
Studio 54 Scott Ellis
2013 Carousel Carrie Pipperidge Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall) John Rando
Nice Work If You Can Get It Billie Bendix (replacement) Imperial Theatre Kathleen Marshall
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Carole King Curran Theatre (out-of-town tryout) Marc Bruni
2013–15 Stephen Sondheim Theatre
2015 Waitress Jenna Hunterson American Repertory Theater (out-of-town tryout) Diane Paulus
2016–17 Brooks Atkinson Theatre
2018 Carousel Julie Jordan Imperial Theatre Jack O'Brien

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Ref.
2017 The Post Judith Martin

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2013 Carousel: Live from Lincoln Center Carrie Pipperidge Filmed stage production
2016 The Family Fran 2 episodes
Maya and Marty Herself Episode: "Ricky Gervais & Cecily Strong"
2017 Blue Bloods Faith Madson Episode: "Common Ground"

Discography[edit]

Cast recordings[edit]

Collaborative projects[edit]

  • Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Volume 16 (2014)[101]
  • From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando (2016)[102]
  • Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Volume 18 (2016)[103]

As featured artist[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2008 Joseph Jefferson Award Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Carousel Won
2011 Actress in a Principal Role in a Musical Guys and Dolls Nominated
She Loves Me Won
2012 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Theatre World Award Outstanding Broadway Debut Honoree
2013 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Onstage Pair (with Andy Karl) Nominated
2014 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical Nominated
2015 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won
2016 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Waitress Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical Nominated
2017 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated
Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award Outstanding Crafts Achievement for On-Camera Talent Chicago Voices Nominated
2018 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Carousel Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated

Special honors and awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Date of birth familysearch.org, accessed June 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "Andrew Mueller on the magic of Peter and the Starcatcher, his inner nerd, and what musical his talented family should take on together". Stage Door Dish. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  3. ^ "Abby Mueller". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  4. ^ "Abby Mueller Will Reprise Her Performance as Carole King in Beautiful on Broadway Chilina Kennedy to Headline Toronto Engagement". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  5. ^ "Jessie Mueller as Herself After a Starry Night" The New York Times, June 10, 2014
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew. "DIVA TALK: Chatting With 'On a Clear Day' Star Jessie Mueller", Playbill, January 20, 2012, accessed May 29, 2016
  7. ^ a b " 'Animal Crackers' Listing", goodmantheatre.org, accessed May 29, 2016
  8. ^ a b " 'A Christmas Carol' Listing", goodmantheatre.org, accessed May 29, 2016
  9. ^ "Jessie Mueller biography", writers theatre, January 2014, accessed May 29, 2016
  10. ^ a b c Jones, Chris (22 December 2011). "Theater Chicagoan of the Year is Jessie Mueller: A glass slipper, a crystalline voice". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d Abarbanel, Jonathan (2010-10-01). "Chicago's New Shining Stars". Footlights.com. Archived from the original on 2012-01-28. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  12. ^ Jessie Mueller. "Marriott Theatre In Lincolnshire". Marriotttheatre.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  13. ^ "Chicago Shakespeare Theater – Bio – Mueller". Chicagoshakes.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
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  15. ^ Brown, Scott (December 12, 2011). "Theater Review: Unfogging On a Clear Day You Can See Forever". Vulture. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
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  18. ^ "Jessie Mueller « Here She Is Boys". Heresheisboys.com. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
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  21. ^ Gans, Andrew. "68th Annual Tony Awards Nominations Announced; 'Gentleman's Guide' Leads the Pack" Archived 2014-05-30 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, April 29, 2014
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  32. ^ The Lilly Awards (2016-06-21), The 7th Annual Lilly Awards – 5.23.16, retrieved 2017-11-27
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  34. ^ a b Henry, Alan. "Breaking: Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry, Renée Fleming to Star in 'Carousel' on Broadway", BroadwayWorld.com, April 16, 2017, accessed April 16, 2017
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  52. ^ "Jessie Mueller, Rema Webb, Ryan Shaw, Jason Tam, Tamika Lawrence, Jenn Colella Will Be Heard on Annual 'Carols for a Cure' CD | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  53. ^ Keddy, Genevieve Rafter. "Exclusive Photo Coverage: Jessie Mueller & the Cast of WAITRESS Feel the Love for Carols For A Cure". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  54. ^ ""Broadway for Orlando" Playbill's Exclusive Music Video Debuts | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
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  59. ^ "Behind the Scenes at the Sold-Out Concert for America | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
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  63. ^ "Pop! Goes the Easel | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
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  65. ^ klockett04, Community Contributor. "Tony Award-Winner Jessie Mueller to Perform at Benefit Show for Evanston Township High School". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
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  68. ^ "Workshops: Broadway Artists Alliance, One Day Master Classes | Backstage". www.backstage.com. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
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  123. ^ Weiss, Hedy. "Sarah Siddons Society honoring Jessie Mueller, Chicago’s Broadway diva" Chicago Sun-Times, April 24, 2015
  124. ^ Gans, Andrew. "A.R.T./New York Honors Jessie Mueller at Tonight's Spring Gala" Playbill, April 11, 2016
  125. ^ Gordon, David. "Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Gloria Steinem, and More at 2016 Lilly Awards" theatermania.com, May 24, 2016

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