What it's about
A woman who works as a pie-goddess waitress - Jenna - finds out she's pregnant with her abusive husband's baby. She tries to enter a $20,000 pie contest to get enough money to run away from her husband, but events occur that lead her to discover things about herself.
I had been trying to see this show for months. As soon as I heard Sara Bareilles was starring as the lead role - in the musical she wrote the lyrics and music for - I tried to get tickets at the TKTS booth on my birthday back in January, but it was all sold out. I then begged my mom to buy me a ticket, since the tickets for the days Sara would be in were over $100 and I don't have the funds for that. So, after some days of torturing her, she finally caved in.
I had actually been practicing the song "She Used to Be Mine" with my voice teacher for the last few weeks after I heard Addison Agen from The Voice sing it. When I brought up the idea to my teacher, Rachel Potter - who was on the American X-Factor and is a Broadway alum - she got so happy and told me how she auditioned with that song for this show in front of Bareilles and thought this song would be a great challenge for me as I would get a chance to work with emotion. When we start our skype lessons and I would sing, she would keep telling me I wasn't giving enough emotion and I never understood what she wanted exactly.
So when I was at the show, I was waiting for this one song. Once it finally came I was left completely shook when I heard Bareilles sing it. Goosebumps spread all over my arms and legs. Although, I know the melody by heart, I noticed she didn't do it exactly as its written in my sheets music. She held out some notes longer and others shorter at different parts, but when she did that she put the feelings that Rachel had been asking me to put in. When I sing it I'm singing it as Julia, who opens up the instrumental track and tries to match all the notes perfectly without any real dynamics or emotional tone.
Right before Jenna sings this song about her abusive husband, Earl, he drags her home from her best friend's wedding at the diner and throws a tantrum at how she's been hiding money from him all over the house. Secretly she was doing it to get enough money for the entry fee for the pie contest, so that she could win and leave his sorry ass. But when she tells him she was doing it to save money for the baby, because she knew he would probably waste it all, Earl gets even angrier and stomps on his favorite guitar and asks Jenna why she has to make everything so hard and then takes her money!
All the scenes where Earl was abusive to Jenna were the hardest ones to watch. I kept wanting to jump in and throw a sucker punch at Earl's jaw. He broke Jenna like he broke the guitar. She starts having an affair with Dr. Jim Pomatter, because she wanted someone who cared for her and made her feel like she was good enough. Even though these two had undeniable chemistry, Jenna hated the idea of cheating - despite her terrible husband - and the fact that Jim had a loving wife.
After seeing "She Used to Be Mine" live, I finally understand what I need to bring to the song. Knowing the events that proceeded the song, I know what each word and note needs to sound like. I gotta think about Jenna's situation and anything similar that I have gone through. I remember a time where I thought I was finally gonna be free from a depressed state that I was in only to have everything explode in my face. Thinking nothing I did was gonna make anything better. But, I found a way to make things better for myself and I am at a point where I am happy and think highly of myself, just like Jenna did when she finally told Earl to get the hell out of her life or that she'd flatten his ass after she gave birth to her daughter.
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