Nia Vardalos stars in 'Tiny Beautiful Things' at Pasadena Playhouse

PASADENA (KABC) -- Actress Nia Vardalos is ready to take the stage in Pasadena, doing a play that won her rave reviews in New York. She adapted Cheryl Strayed's best-seller, "Tiny Beautiful Things," taking on the role of an anonymous online advice columnist named "Sugar." The project has had a big impact on Vardalos.

"It changed me, in a way I can't explain," said Vardalos. "I'm drawn to things that terrify me. Reading the book was very-- I mean, as Cheryl Strayed said, it unzipped me."

Vardalos began adapting Strayed's book in 2013; then went on to a successful run in New York. Now, it's opening at the Pasadena Playhouse.

"I've been searching since 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' for something that would change me the way that that did-- to be heard, to be creatively satisfied," said Vardalos. "I've gotten to do so many other things. But to do a play on stage and to hear the audience react the way they do to this play--it's pretty great."

Vardalos's most famous family is the one she created in 2002's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which earned her an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. She loves that family with all her heart; but she's also having a blast with this "Playhouse" family as well.

"It's a daunting experience that people are coming to see this. It's a completely different kind of approach to material because it's a play," said Vardalos. "But it's the same as my movies because it's an authentic experience. You're watching a family on stage again."

"Tiny Beautiful Things" runs at the Pasadena Playhouse through May 5.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.