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Matthew Murphy Jennifer Nettles
Jennifer Nettles is cinching her apron and grabbing her notepad for her latest role as Jenna in Waitress.
The first photo of the Sugarland musician, 47, in character for the hit Broadway musical has been released just days before she joins the cast for her first show Oct. 19. In the photo, Nettles wears a simple blue collared dress with a white apron tied around her waist. Her Jenna nametag peeks out just below her wavy blonde hair, and she holds a pencil in one hand and a pad of paper in the other.
She poses in front of a diner counter in the image, with red stools, a milkshake machine and an old school menu visible behind her.
Waitress returned to Broadway in September for a limited engagement, which will run through Jan. 9, 2022 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Speaking to PEOPLE last month, Nettles said joining the hit musical "is an absolute dream."
"There are so many layers to Waitress that make it so meaningful to me. It is heart-warming, heart-breaking at times, and absolutely heart-inspiring," she said. "I'm thrilled to be able to finally get to wear the apron."
Sara Bareilles, who wrote the score for Waitress, opened the show as Jenna when it returned to Broadway Sept. 2. Her last performance is scheduled for Oct. 17, after which Nettles will take over the role.
"Sara is my dear friend of mine and when Waitress first came out, I was so excited for her," Nettles told PEOPLE. "Loved the project, loved the show, loved the material and wanted to be able to be a part of this beautiful legacy that my friend had created.
"But we were just never able to make it work in terms of timing," she explained. "So to be able to now be a part of it, and this beautiful celebration of Broadway's reopening? It's just like, the stars have aligned. The right thing happens at the right time."
Waitress first debuted on Broadway in 2016 and is based on the 2007 film of the same name. The role of Jenna — who was played by Keri Russell in the film — was originated by Jessie Mueller and was later played by Stephanie Torns, Betsy Wolfe, Katharine McPhee, Nicolette Robinson, Bareilles, Shoshana Bean, Alison Luff and Jordin Sparks, according to Playbill.
While Nettles is well-known for her hits in the country music world and beyond, she's no stranger to the stage — her Waitress role is not her first turn on Broadway. In 2015, she made her Broadway debut as Roxy Hart in Chicago, and later played Donna in a Hollywood Bowl production of Mamma Mia!, per Deadline.