Jessica Ruth Mueller
February 20, 1983
|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
Jessica Ruth Mueller (born February 20, 1983) is an American actress and singer. She started her acting career in Chicago and won two Joseph Jefferson Awards in 2008 and 2011 for her roles as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel and Amalia Balash in She Loves Me. 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 went on to receive two additional Best Actress Tony Award nominations for her leading roles in Waitress (2016) and the Broadway revival of Carousel (2018).
Early life and education
Her brothers, Andrew and Matt, and sister, Abby, are all actors and known for their work in Chicago, off-Broadway, and Broadway productions. As of 2019, three of the four Mueller siblings had appeared in Broadway productions.
2005–2011: Chicago theatre
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, the Lady-In-Waiting in Once Upon a Mattress, and Esther in Meet Me in St. Louis. At the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois, she performed in Shout! The Mod Musical, Shenandoah, Guys and Dolls as Miss Adelaide, and Fiddler on the Roof as Tzeitel. In 2009 Mueller performed in two musicals at the Goodman Theatre, Animal Crackers as Grace/Mary and A Christmas Carol as Belle/Catherine.
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.
2011–2017: Broadway debut and initial success
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 production 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". 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.
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. 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. The show was filmed and aired on PBS' Live from Lincoln Center.
Mueller starred in 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. Her performance won her the Drama Desk Award and Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. She left the Broadway production on March 6, 2015. On February 8, 2015, Mueller won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album (shared with Carole King (music and lyrics) and producers Jason Howland, Steve Sidwell, and Billy Jay Stein).
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. With music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and direction by Diane Paulus, the musical began its out-of-town tryout at the American Repertory Theater in August 2015. Waitress opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24, 2016. Mueller was nominated for awards including a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award 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." Mueller left the production on March 26, 2017. Mueller's performance also earned her a 2016 Lilly Award for its message of female empowerment and safety.
2017–2019: Film career, Carousel, and other projects
In April 2017, shortly after Mueller's departure from Waitress, it was announced that she would play 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. The production closed on September 16, 2018.
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 its general release on January 12, 2018.
In 2018, Mueller received three major nominations for her role as Julie Jordan, including her fifth Drama Desk nomination (and second win) and her fourth Tony Award nomination. She is the first actress in any Broadway production of Carousel to receive such nominations for the role.
Mueller next played country music legend Loretta Lynn in the Lifetime original movie Patsy & Loretta, alongside Megan Hilty as Patsy Cline. The film began production on location in Nashville in March 2019 and premiered on October 19, 2019. For this role, Mueller was nominated for a Critics' Choice Award.
2020–Present: Broadway shutdown and career moving forward
Mueller is currently contracted to star alongside Tracy Letts in the play The Minutes on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. Previews began on February 25, 2020, with the show originally scheduled open on March 15. However, the production, following a public mandate that closed all Broadway theaters, was halted due to the COVID-19 crisis. The show announced that it will resume previews in the spring of 2022, with an opening date set for March 15 of that year.
In 2009, Mueller met and began a relationship with Andy Truschinski, an actor, film producer, and playwright, while performing opposite him in a Goodman Theatre production of A Christmas Carol. The couple reside together in New York City.
Activism and philanthropy
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, and adoption. She supports Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has appeared on multiple volumes of their annual Carols for a Cure albums. 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; the movement included a benefit concert in Orlando as well as an appearance on Maya & Marty. 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.
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. In 2015, she performed with fellow Beautiful alum Jarrod Spector in a series of concerts benefitting various arts organizations. 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. 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. 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. Mueller continues to support her own alma maters, performing at a benefit showcase for Evanston Township High School's YAMO theatre program in 2017 and providing opportunities for meetings and talkbacks with Syracuse University drama students. In her spare time, Mueller teaches master classes to young aspiring performers.
|2005||Once Upon a Mattress||Ensemble (u.s. Winnifred)||Drury Lane Theatre||Ray Frewen|
|2006||Baby||Lizzie Fields||Theatre at the Center||David Perkovich|
|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||Marc Robin|
|Meet Me in St. Louis||Esther Smith||Drury Lane Theatre||Jim Corti|
|2008–09||The Bowery Boys||Ensemble||Marriott Theatre||David H. Bell|
|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|
|2019||The Music Man||Marian Paroo||Kennedy Center (Eisenhower Theater)||Marc Bruni|
|2020||The Minutes||Ms. Johnson||Cort Theatre||Anna D. Shapiro|
|2017||The Post||Judith Martin|
|2013||Carousel: Live from Lincoln Center||Carrie Pipperidge||Filmed stage production|
|2016||The Family||Fran||2 episodes|
|2017||Blue Bloods||Faith Madson||Episode: "Common Ground"|
|2019||Madam Secretary||Leslie||Episode: "Between the Seats"|
|Patsy & Loretta||Loretta Lynn||Television film|
Cast recordings and soundtracks
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood – The 2013 New Broadway Cast Recording (2013)
- Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – Original Broadway Cast Recording (2014)
- Waitress – Original Broadway Cast Recording (2016)
- Carousel – 2018 Broadway Cast Recording (2018)
- Patsy & Loretta - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2019)
- Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Volume 16 (2014)
- Pop! Goes the Easel for MoMA (2016)
- From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando (2016)
- Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Volume 18 (2016)
As featured artist
Awards and nominations
Special honors and awards
- Chicago Tribune's Actor of the Year Award – 2011
- Sarah Siddons Society Actress of the Year Award – April 27, 2015
- A.R.T./New York: Abe L. Blinder Award for Public Service and Arts Education – April 11, 2016
- Lilly Award for Acting – May 23, 2016
- Date of birth familysearch.org, accessed June 4, 2014.
- "Carousel". Court Theatre. Retrieved 2021-06-06.
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- "Abby Mueller". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- McPhee, Ryan (January 30, 2017). "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.
- Lefkowitz, Andy (September 10, 2019). "Six Announces Casting for Broadway Premiere". Broadway.com.
- Sullivan, Lindsey (September 27, 2019). "Matt Mueller on Finding Out He Got His Harry Potter Role at a Truck Stop & Why Jessie Mueller Makes Him Feel Like a 'Proud Grandpa'". Broadway.com.
- Healy, Patrick (June 9, 2014). "Taking Her Tony Home". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
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- "Animal Crackers". Goodman Theatre. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
- ["A Christmas Carol 09". Goodman Theatre. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
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- Jones, Kenneth (March 29, 2013). "Jessie Mueller, John Treacy Egan and Conrad John Schuck Love a Gershwin Tune; They Join Nice Work March 29". Playbill. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
- Ferri, Josh (August 12, 2013). "Jessie Mueller Will Star as Carole King in the New Musical Beautiful; Broadway Dates Announced". Broadway.com.
- Blank, Matthew (January 13, 2014). "PHOTO CALL: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Starring Jessie Mueller, Opens on Broadway; Red Carpet Arrivals, Curtain Call and Cast Party". Playbill. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
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- Weiss, Hedy (April 24, 2015). "Sarah Siddons Society Honoring Jessie Mueller, Chicago's Broadway Diva". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Jessie Mueller to star in Sara Bareilles's 'Waitress'". Gulf News. April 17, 2015.
- Hetrick, Adam (December 16, 2014). "Jessie Mueller, Christopher Fitzgerald, Bryce Pinkham, Keala Settle and More Featured in Waitress Workshop". Playbill.
- "Sara Bareilles' 'Waitress' Musical To Debut In August". Billboard. April 3, 2015.
- Viagas, Robert (October 30, 2015). "Sara Bareilles' Waitress, Starring Jessie Mueller, Sets Broadway Opening Night". Playbill. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
- Viagas, Robert (June 12, 2016). "Hamilton Tops Tony Awards With 11 Wins". Playbill. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
- Fierberg, Ruthie (June 5, 2016). "Drama Desk Awards Name Shuffle Along Best Musical". Playbill. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
- Isherwood, Charles (April 24, 2016). "Review: Jessie Mueller Serves a Slice of Life (With Pie) in Sara Bareilles's 'Waitress'". The New York Times.
- Viagas, Robert (December 13, 2016). "Tony Winner Jessie Mueller Announces Departure from Broadway's Waitress". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- "VIDEO: Jessie Mueller Hangs Up Her Apron and Bids Farewell to WAITRESS". BroadwayWorld. March 26, 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- The Lilly Awards (2016-06-21), The 7th Annual Lilly Awards – 5.23.16, retrieved 2017-11-27
- Clement, Olivia (May 16, 2016). "Gloria Steinem, Jessie Mueller and Lupita Nyong'o Set for Lilly Awards". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- Henry, Alan (April 16, 2017). "Breaking: Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry, Renée Fleming to Star in CAROUSEL on Broadway". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- McPhee, Ryan (4 September 2017). "Betsy Wolfe, Alexander Gemignani, and More Join Broadway Revival of Carousel; Dates and Theatre Announced". Playbill. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- McPhee, Ryan (September 16, 2018). "Broadway Revival of Carousel Closes September 16". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
- McPhee, Ryan (August 30, 2017). "Jessie Mueller Will Make Her Feature Film Debut in Steven Spielberg's The Post". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- "2017 Chicago/Midwest Regional Emmy Awards Nominee List" (PDF). ChicagoEmmyOnline.org.
- "Chicago Voices Concert". Lyric Opera of Chicago. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
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- McPhee, Ryan (December 10, 2018). "Jessie Mueller to Star Opposite Norm Lewis in The Music Man in Washington, D.C." Playbill. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
- Ausiello, Michael (2019-03-11). "Megan Hilty and Jessie Mueller to Star as Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn in Lifetime Movie Patsy & Loretta". TVLine. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
- Franklin, Marc J. (October 19, 2019). "Megan Hilty and Jessie Mueller Are Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn in Patsy & Loretta October 19". Playbill.
- "About Patsy & Loretta". Lifetime. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- Hammond, Pete (2019-12-08). "'The Irishman', 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' Lead Critics' Choice Nominations; Netflix Dominates With 61 Noms In Movies And TV". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- Clement, Olivia (November 7, 2019). "Jessie Mueller, Tracy Letts, Armie Hammer, and More to Star in Letts' The Minutes on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- "Meet the Cast of THE MINUTES - Now in Previews on Broadway!". BroadwayWorld. February 25, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
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- Lee, Luaine (October 10, 2019). "Broadway star was terrified to play a 'musical icon' in 'Patsy & Loretta'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
- "Show People With Paul Wontorek Interview: Jessie Mueller on 'Beautiful' & More". May 15, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2017 – via YouTube.
- "Show People with Paul Wontorek Interview: Jessie Mueller of 'On a Clear Day You Can See Forever'". May 8, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2017 – via YouTube.
- "Jessie Mueller Joins Star-Powered Lineup for Broadway @ Town Hall Series in Provincetown". BroadwayWorld. July 26, 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- "Carole King Surprises Cast of Broadway Musical 'Beautiful'". May 5, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2017 – via YouTube.
- Gans, Andrew (September 30, 2014). "Jessie Mueller, Rema Webb, Ryan Shaw, Jason Tam, Tamika Lawrence, Jenn Colella Will Be Heard on Annual 'Carols for a Cure' CD". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
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...her first Equity gig was as Princess Winifred in the musical “Once Upon a Mattress.”
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2010 Roles: Annie in Over The Tavern; Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music
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