You were initially intimidated by the prospect of writing a musical – you are obviously a major star in music. Why were you intimidated by this?

I grew up on musical theatre and I think I have so much respect for the legacy of this medium you just don’t want to you don’t want to try your hand at something this publicly and then have it just be awful.

I can’t wait – we’re seeing it with an audience within a week and I can’t wait to see what resonates with them – it’s a little terrifying!

Your fans know you primarily as a soulful songwriter and all of your songs, a lot of them are like a little story, a little vignette within the song – did you find in musical theatre that’s usually how the music moves the story forward, so in a way, did you feel at home?

Coming to the genre felt like a homecoming for me in some ways because I think musical theatre is a part of why I write the way I do. I grew up listening to musical scores and so I loved getting introduced to a character by way of their torch song or you know understanding some deeper aspect of their soul or their story or their history, by way of the songs that they were given to sing.

Tell us about the musical, tell us the the gist of the story and and how you wrote the music around that.

It’s about the lead character, Jenna, who is a brilliant pie baker who sort of tucks her emotions and her most inner thoughts into her pies and she sort of feeds the soul of the community, by way of her pies. And she’s in a strained and loveless marriage and it’s really her story about coming to terms with what she’s not and what she hopes to see herself become and finding the strength to sort of step out on her own

One of the songs which is my favourite so far is ‘She Used To Be Mine’- can you tell us about that son. Is it a reflection on the past self? What is that?

I have a penchant for melancholy myself and so when I watched the film I was really struck by the scene where Jenna and her husband are in the kitchen and it’s it’s like sort of her bottom of the well, darkest moment. Everyone can relate to the idea of sort of waking up and seeing their lives having happened around them and almost wondering how did I get here?

You know people think ‘oh, it’s a musical’ but there are some pretty strong themes in it.

There’s a lightness to it and a sweetness to it, but it’s also not afraid of what is melancholy about life and what is lonely and what is dark about our experience here.

Domestic abuse is definitely a theme throughout the musical how did you tackle that through the music?

It’s just not black and white. I think we’ve done a good job of shading this in a way that you can understand why someone ends up in a position where you know from the outside you’d be like ‘get out of there’. It’s just not that simple a lot of the time.

You’re such a strong female voice is it hard to write for men?

It’s hard to write for men. I made many mistakes along the way. I mean just from a technical aspect of writing these the songs for them in keys that were way too high for them to sing – they’re like “you know, we’re men – our voices are lower than women’s generally!” Learning, learning moments for me. I think I took it as a great challenge to try to find what I could empathise with inside each of these characters and how I actually recognised myself in them.

What do you want to say to people about coming to the ART and seeing it and giving it a try?

I say come open minded and hopefully leave open hearted. That’s, I mean, this show is about intimacy and about you know small storytelling and hopefully done with music that makes you feel uplifted.

What’s next for you? You’ve now written a musical, you’re a VH1 top 100 woman in music – you’ve kind of done it all. What’s next?

Maybe a vacation!

CBS Boston - Sara Bareilles