By Dana Tyler

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — “Waitress” will be one of the first musicals to return to Broadway, and when the diner reopens next week, Grammy winner Sara Bareilles will star.

Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics for the show, receiving a Tony nomination in 2016, and she later went on to play the lead three times during its almost-four-year run.

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Waitress” closed in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit, but now, it’s ready to welcome all of Broadway back.

Bareilles has been back in the rehearsal room with the cast of “Waitress.”

“It just feels so good to be a part of what is welcoming people back to the city and back to our beloved Theater District,” she told CBS2’s Dana Tyler.

Wednesday morning at Glass House Tavern, the singer-songwriter turned Broadway star reflected on returning to the role of Jenna, the waitress at a crossroads.

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It’s a part Bareilles didn’t initially think about playing while creating the musical, but she warmed up to the idea.

“I just love the show so much. It has become the great love of my artistic life, so it was, like, you know, a natural extension to want to be inside of it,” she said.

The reopening run of “Waitress” will be dedicated to beloved Broadway actor Nick Cordero, who died from COVID in July of 2020. Cordero was a member of the original cast of “Waitress.”

“We’ve been given the incredible gift of a relationship with his beautiful wife, Amanda Kloots, and their son, Elvis, and we’ve sort of baked Nick into the show. There’s the pie named after him on our pie board that will be implemented in every production of this show forever and ever, amen,” Bareilles said.

Bareilles says the return of “Waitress” is an emotional but necessary journey.

“Theater is the thing I miss the most about the city,” she said. “Without theater, there is truly something missing.”

Bareilles also says in addition to the excitement of being back on stage, she’s also looking forward to being in the audience at other new and returning Broadway shows.

“Waitress” is returning to Broadway for a limited engagement starting next Thursday, Sept. 2. It runs through Jan. 9, 2022, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 47th Street.

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Proof of vaccination is required for all Broadway shows, and you must wear a mask throughout the performance.