My car rides to work have been filled with the iTunes release “What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress ,” Sara Bareilles’ performance of the songs she wrote for the new Broadway musical. I was compelled to purchase the album because I had seen the original production at the American Repertory Theater in September, and loved it. The release of her songs from Waitress on iTunes is a real first for all of us musical theatre fans in the world, especially those who did not get to travel to Cambridge to see the original production before it hit Broadway. Diane Paulus’ crack idea to partner up with Sara Bareilles has given musical theatre fans a whole new medium to gain enjoyment from a genre that often sticks to entertainment in its live, ticketed form.
Transmedia storytelling is a big element of any kind of entertainment in today’s technology filled society. It refers to the telling of stories across multiple platforms of entertainment (e.g. television, video games, social media, music soundtracks, blogs, vlogs, etc.). Each extension of the story can stand on its own and includes added information to the original plot. Waitress exists now as a film, a musical, and Sara Bareilles’ recent music release . But fans can also gain knowledge about the show from the Broadway Waitress instagram account, and the Waitress Facebook page.
Sugar, Butter, Flour
What is unique about the elements being released for this show is that they are not only tied to other mediums but also to Sara Bareilles’ singer/songwriter persona. Her release of the album is separate from the cast album in that her fans disconnected to the musical theatre world will purchase it. Sara Bareilles was able to release the album as her own piece of work which can stand on its own and exist as a separate part to the Waitress story. Any individual song on the album could be a huge hit on the radio and doesn’t need to exist within the scope of the album OR the musical to tell a story, which is one of the biggest rules within telling stories in a transmedial way.
When I listen to the music on Sara Bareilles’ new album, I see the production. I see Jessie Mueller singing about cheating on her husband, Bogey “never ever ever gonna leave you,” and the restaurant craziness during “Opening Up.” My experience of Waitress includes listening to the album, the live performance, following Waitress on their Broadway Facebook page, and following Sara on Instagram. All of these separate mediums come together to create my understanding of the story and I feel more connected to the production before it even opens in New York. I can access it in so many ways besides just buying a ticket and waiting until the curtain goes up. The inclusion of Sara Bareilles in musical theatre history has helped to make it even more accessible to audiences. Hopefully more productions will follow along!