Before she won a Tony for her role in “Beautiful: the Carole King Musical,” Jessie Mueller performed as a patient for medical students at Upstate. She was a standardized patient, like many of the drama students at Syracuse University.
Amber Hansel, who helps oversee Upstate’s standardized patient program now, remembers Mueller well. “I was working at Syracuse Stage when she appeared in several performances there,” Hansel says. “I got to know her a little when she was in the SU Drama production of ‘Kiss Me Kate.’ ”
Actors chosen to be standardized patients are carefully trained to portray patients who simulate common medical conditions. Encounters give medical students, residents or other health care professionals the opportunity to learn and practice effective communication and examination techniques with real people without fatiguing actual patients. Hansel says sophomores, juniors and seniors are considered for the roles, which are paid.
Hansel joined Upstate in 2005. “I now use the skills I learned studying directing at SU when I train/coach the standardized patients to portray their patient cases.”
Mueller, 31, is a resident of Astoria, Queens. She is expected to continue in “Beautiful” for months to come.
Carole King told The New York Times that during “Beautiful” tryouts, “Jessie just came across to me as very devoted to the material, respectful about the music and the story, and had a wonderful energy to her.” King performed “I Feel the Earth Move” with Mueller during the Tonys telecast.
Read The New York Times profile of Jessie Mueller
Watch Mueller and King perform during the Tonys
Read about this year’s Tony Award winners
Learn more about the standardized patient program at Upstate