25 Sep
Jessie Mueller holds Master Class at Holy Cross courtesy of Broadway in Worcester (Worcester, MA.)

(Cover Photo: JESSIE MUELLER in a group shot with her Master Class Students at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)






Event Date:

September 22, 2023


Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.

When college theatre students learn from professional performers they are learning from years of application, dedication and experience. They also learn about fortitude, required now more than ever in the highly competitive and ever-changing business of entertainment..

BROADWAY IN WORCESTER brought Tony Award Winner JESSIE MUELLER to speak to area students at the Prior Performing Arts Center on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. on Friday, September 22nd and every person in that room was captivated by the Broadway star.

According to her supplied biography: following a breakout role in "A Clear Day You Can See Forever" opposite Harry Connick, Jr., JESSIE MUELLER quickly became one of Broadway’s most sought after talents. 

MUELLER was recently seen on Broadway in Tracy Lett’s play "The Minutes" and the Kennedy Center’s acclaimed revival of "Guys and Dolls." 

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLERPhoto by Emilio Madrid. Courtesy of Broadway in Worcester)

Previously, MUELLER starred on Broadway in the revival of "Carousel" (Drama Desk Award, Tony, Grammy nominations) and "Nice Work If You Can Get It." 

Most notably, she originated the roles of "Jenna" in "Waitress" (Tony, Drama Desk, Grammy nominations) and "Carole King" in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" (Tony, Drama Desk, Grammy awards). 

Television and film work include "Patsy & Loretta," "Madam Secretary," "Blue Bloods," "Evil," "Candy," "Chicago Voices" (Chicago Emmy nomination), "A Good Person," "Secret Headquarters" and Steven Spielberg’s "The Post." 

Students in attendance for the morning Master Class came from Worcester Public Schools (Burncoat High School), The College of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame Academy and Worcester Academy.

According to Broadway in Worcester's founder and Master Class coordinator, Eric Butler, 190 students and teachers registered from 31 institutions.

Four students were fortunate enough to sing before the veteran performer and receive constructive feedback for their presentation. MUELLER was not only informative and insightful she was gracious and extremely funny.

Each student performed their selected song segment once, received feedback from MUELLER, then performed the same segment again and, in every case, the improvement in performance was noticeable.

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLER with one of her Master Class Students at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)

The first student sang the patter song "Getting Married Today" by Stephen Sondheim from the musical "COMPANY." 

Originally written by Sondheim (with book writer George Furth) with a woman in mind (as gloriously defined by actress Beth Howland's bravura performance in the original 1970 Broadway production), the role was recently adapted (in the 2018 "gender-swapped" production) to be performed by a man getting married to another man.

MUELLER focused on the students posture and confidence level then explored some of the song's intensely difficult music and lyrical structure. 

"Patter songs" are normally sung in a furiously manic fashion, requiring precise diction from beginning to end, hardly leaving a second for vocalists to take a breath. So, the student selected a marvelous but also extremely difficult piece to kick off the Master Class. 

MUELLER'S constructive feedback was invaluable, as it was in every single case that followed.

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLER with one of her Master Class Students at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)

The next student sang "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey as the "11 o'clock number" from the musical "GREASE" sung by the character "Rizzo" who has just revealed her possible pregnancy in the story.

MUELLER explored aspects of the lyrics with the student to provide some insight as to what the character of Rizzo is conveying in the song. 

Focusing on the song's content, MUELLER also alluded to the much more conservative time period in which the show takes place and judgmental attitudes toward a "wild" high school girl who suddenly finds herself in a "delicate condition."

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLER with one of her Master Class Students at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)

The third of the four Master Class students sang the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman classic, "Somewhere That's Green" sung by the character of "Audrey" in the musical "LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS."

In the song, the character of "Audrey" conveys her dream to leave her abusive dentist boyfriend, "Orin Scrivello (D.D.S.)," marry the mensch "Seymour" and leave their dismal Skid Row existence to live in a beautiful dream world - one neither has ever known. 

A sampling of the lyrics:

"I cook like Betty Crocker and I look like Donna Reed, there's plastic on the furniture to keep it neat and clean, in the Pine-sol scented air somewhere that's green."

MUELLER covered a lot of ground with the student, spending much of the time focused on the lyrical content of the song, including references the student is not likely to know, including "Betty Crocker" or "Donna Reed" as examples. 

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLER with one of her Master Class Students at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)

The last of the four students sang the Broadway ballad MUELLER herself made famous, "She Used to Be Mine" from Act Two of the musical "WAITRESS,written by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. 

MUELLER not only starred in the musical she was there at the beginning during the development process as the musical was initially getting "workshopped."

The number is one of the all-time "gut-wrenching" songs about that feeling of losing one's identity and struggling with an unrelenting number of changes all happening simultaneous in this woman's life - an emotional odyssey for the character of "Jenna" who exists pregnant, having an affair and living in an abusive relationship.

Bareilles herself once said of the emotional tune, "The chasm between who we are, and who we thought we would be, is always something we’re negotiating...In the life of 'WAITRESS' people make an assumption that it's a very feminine show, and it is, and I love that. But these themes go so far beyond gender." 

MUELLER explained to the student and to the audience that, during the genesis of the original musical, it proved to be a difficult process for her in going to the required "dark places" that the song takes the singer to, especially at "eight performances a week."  

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLER and SETH RUDETSKY stand behind Broadway in Worcester's Eric Butler at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)

The event was coordinated by Eric Butler, the guiding force behind Broadway in Worcester, responsible not only for the JESSIE MUELLER Master Class but also her performance later that day at Prior Performing Arts Center with her piano maestro accompanist and Sirius XM radio star SETH RUDETSKY.

In previous years, Butler has also been responsible for bringing other Broadway stars to the city for similar, vital mixtures of Master Classes and entertaining performances.

Thanks to Broadway in Worcester, area students and audiences were fortunate enough to hear some great stories and be entertained by Two-Time Tony Award Winner and Broadway icon CHITA RIVERA and Tony Award Winners KELLI O’HARA and LAURA BENANTI.

(Photo: JESSIE MUELLER in a group shot with her Master Class Students at Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy CrossPhoto Courtesy of Kara Emily Krantz Photography)

Coming up March 1, 2024 at 8:00pm Broadway in Worcester will present SANTINO FONTANA LIVE IN CONCERT at the Jean McDonough Arts Center’s BrickBox Theater in Worcester. 

Event details can be found below or at:


Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 




THE PRIOR PERFORMING ARTS CENTER is a new multi-arts venue at the College of the Holy Cross. A catalyst for creativity and learning, it amplifies the arts at Holy Cross and provides the College, the greater Worcester community, and visiting creative thinkers with an inspiring environment to pursue diverse questions of the human experience. Public programming features a dynamic live event series featuring world-class artists from across the performing and creative arts; stimulating exhibitions in the relocated Cantor Art Gallery; and engaging presentations by the College's arts departments and programs. Collaborations with Worcester include educational opportunities and other community partnerships. 


Luth Concert Hall

College of the Holy Cross

1 College Street

Worcester, MA 01610


(Photo: SANTINO FONTANAPhoto Courtesy of Broadway in Worcester)


With his rich voice, dynamic versatility and charisma, SANTINO FONTANA has cemented himself as one of Broadway's favorite leading men. 

FONTANA was last seen starring on Broadway in his tour de force dual role in "Tootsie" for which he received the 2019 Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards

He is perhaps best known to audiences as the voice of villainous "Prince Hans" in the Academy Award Winning Disney film "Frozen." 

Television audiences have seen FONTANA on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and recognize him from "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," "Shades of Blue," "Mozart In The Jungle," "Fosse/Verdon," "Royal Pains," "Nurse Jackie" and more. 

FONTANA'S other Broadway credits include "Hello Dolly," "Act One," "Cinderella," "The Importance of Being Earnest" (Clarence Derwent Award), "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (Drama Desk Award), "Billy Elliot,and "Sunday in the Park with George.

He also received Lortel and Obie Awards for his off-Broadway performance in Stephen Karam’s "Sons of the Prophet." 

As an interpreter of the American Songbook, FONTANA won the renowned Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival when he was 18 and has sung with orchestras, big bands, and smaller ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, NY Pops, National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Master Voices, Westchester Philharmonic, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Sesame Street Muppets, Phoenix Symphony, and at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Birdland, and the Bravo Festival at Vail.

One Night Only!

March 1, 2024 at 8:00pm


Jean McDonough Arts Center’s BrickBox Theater, Worcester, MA.



To purchase tickets visit: www.broadwayinworcester.com. 


With its industrial aesthetic and intimate seating, THE BRICKBOX THEATER AND THE JEAN MCDONOUGH ARTS CENTER is perfect for fresh, sophisticated stagings of classic works.


20 Franklin Street

Worcester, MA. 01608

508-413-JMAC/877-571-SHOW (Box Office)


Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)




BROADWAY IN WORCESTER was founded in 2022 by Worcester native Eric Butler. BROADWAY IN WORCESTER is committed to providing Central Massachusetts’ audiences with the opportunity to see Broadway’s most celebrated talents perform locally. Past performers have included Tony Award winners Laura Benanti and Kelli O’Hara, as well as Broadway legend Chita Rivera. In addition to providing local access to Broadway celebrity performances, BROADWAY IN WORCESTER fosters collaboration between Broadway talents and the area’s local high school and college students and their arts educators through educational programming. Each artist will participate in a free masterclass or workshop for students and educators prior to their performances. More information about BROADWAY IN WORCESTER'S free educational workshops can be found on www.broadwayinworcester.com. This initiative is supported by the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, The Fletcher Foundation, and UniBank. BROADWAY IN WORCESTER looks forward to bringing an exciting line-up of stars to the City of Worcester in the years to come!