Katharine McPhee To Make Broadway Debut in “Waitress”

Do you remember American Idol sensation Katherine McPhee? She was the runner up behind Taylor Hicks, and many thought she was the better talent. She is now 33 years old and has taken her career in a different direction — acting. Her first serious exposure to acting on TV came with the series Smash in 2012 followed by a role in Scorpion 2 years later. Now she has the opportunity to show her theatrical acting talents in the upcoming Broadway show “Waitress.”

Having a talented singing voice is definitely something that gives you an edge in getting Broadway roles. McPhee is a huge fan of singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles who just happens to be responsible for the music and lyrics of the show. McPhee is being cast in the lead role, so as a first time Broadway actress she has her work cut out for her. She appears to be unfazed by the whole thing, looking at the opportunity as “a real thrill for me.”

She is being cast as Jenna, a woman who is in an unhappy marriage and then discovers she is pregnant, complicating her life even further. One interesting aspect of this particular Broadway play is that according to Katharine, there are no heroes or villains. These are just everyday normal people who are trying to do their best to deal with the cards they have been dealt. This is somewhat reflective of McPhee’s appearance on American Idol. Had she won, her future may have been largely determined solely by her musical talents. (As a side note, not much has been heard from Taylor Hicks of late.) McPhee continues to find new opportunities and career dimensions.

But her leading role came with a substantial learning curve. In the Broadway play, Jenna’s world is very complicated and has required McPhee to spend time researching and examining other characters and people to fully embrace the role. This is an important demonstration of her work ethic and willingness to learn to future interests of Broadway productions. She stated quite accurately that the current world is binary in its approach to life — her character is everything but binary. Through understanding her Broadway character better she also was able to understand the world around her better.

It has yet to be seen if this is the beginning of a long term relationship with Broadway. Her time with Jenna and “Waitress” is limited: she will begin performing in April and her final appearance is scheduled for June 17th of this year. Obviously, reviews will be critical to any hopes of her future Broadway career, but for the moment she is very happy to be a part of the world of Sara Bareilles and have the chance to extend her acting career even further. Isis clear she still has a yearning to keep her musical talents front and center, and perhaps she thinks Broadway is a better answer than trying to revive a music career that has largely remained dormant as she continues to follow her acting dreams. At this point it seems clear who has been the more successful of the American Idol “winners” of 2006.

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