Jessica Ruth "Jessie" Mueller (born February 20, 1983) is an American actress and singer. She started her career in Chicago and won a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2008 for her role as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel. In 2011, she moved her talents to New York City to star in the Broadway revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
She recently starred in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as Carole King, a performance for which she won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
Mueller was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, the daughter of actors Jill (née Shellabarger) and Roger Mueller. Her two brothers Andrew and Matt along with sister Abby are all actors known for their work in the Chicago theatre community. Mueller is Lutheran. She graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2001 and from Syracuse University in 2005.
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 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.
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. 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 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 Kelli O'Hara's role of Billie Bendix in Nice Work If You Can Get It, from March 29, 2013 until the show closed on June 15, 2013.
Mueller appeared in the musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which opened on Broadway on January 12, 2014. She played 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.
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).
On April 27, 2015, Mueller was the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Sarah Siddons Society Award at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL. The Sarah Siddons Society, founded in 1952 by prominent Chicago theater patrons determined to promote excellence in the art, presents its annual award (named after the 18th century Welsh actress), to an actor of outstanding achievement. Previous winners have included such legends as Audra McDonald, Barbara Cook, Helen Hayes, Geraldine Page, Carol Channing, Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Lauren Bacall, Julie Andrews, Chita Rivera, Patti LuPone and many more. With previews starting March 2016, Mueller will reprise her role as Jenna in the musical adaption of Waitress on Broadway.
On April 21, 2015, it was announced that Mueller would play the role of Jenna Hunterson in the musical adaptation of the 2007 film Waitress, having previously played the role in a workshop of the musical in late 2014. With music and lyrics by pop singer Sara Bareilles and direction by Diane Paulus, the musical premiered at the American Repertory Theater in August 2015. Its Broadway debut is set for March 2016.
- Jessie Mueller at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jessie Mueller at the Internet Movie Database
- Jessie Mueller at the Internet Off-Broadway Database