Showstopper Saturdays: Reviews & Inspirations

Entry 1: Waitress

Waitress: A New Musical
Book by: Jessie Nelson   Music & Lyrics by: Sara Bareilles
Based upon the motion picture written by: Adrienne Shelly

Synopsis: The production follows Jenna, a waitress with a knack for creating delicious pies with quirky names, on her journey to find what happiness really is. Jenna finds out she is pregnant and has difficulty being happy about it because her husband Earl is abusive and controlling. Fortunately she has a good support system in her friends and fellow waitresses, Becky and Dawn, who have their own journeys and self-discoveries. She plans on entering a pie baking contest, at the encouragement Joe, of the owner of the diner she works at, to make enough money to leave her abusive husband. On the way, she falls in love with her OB-GYN, Dr. Pomatter. 

Comments: I was fortunate enough to see Waitress the evening of Wednesday, September 16th. It was the first production I have seen at A.R.T., and what a show to see! The music was phenomenal and excellently executed, the book and music truly worked hand-in-hand to make a seamless production. Direction was terrific and all technical aspects of the show ran smoothly and immersed us in the world of the musical.

Jessie Mueller played Jenna with such ease, skill, and honesty that at times I felt that I was a fly on the wall looking into her life: the joy, the frustration, the heartbreak. Keala Settle and Jeanna De Waal were terrific as Becky and Dawn respectively, and you could feel the love the trio of women had for one another as they each made their own push for self-discovery and happiness. Dakin Matthews as Joe warmed my heart as the crotchety yet endearing diner owner with a paternal soft spot for Jenna. Eric Anderson's played Cal the chef with ease and Jeremy Morse's Ogie had wonderful comedic timing. Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter and Joe Tippett as Earl were as opposite as two men can be in the way they express their feelings, whatever they may have been, for Jenna. I found myself really hating Earl, but saw the struggle that Jenna had in trying to leave him, Mr. Tippett did a wonderful job in showing us the many levels of this man. The ensemble was very strong and the entire cast worked well together to create the world of the show. There was not a weak link in the cast, musically or dramatically.

Character I Type For: If I could be in a production of Waitress I think I type best for Becky. She is the sassy best friend who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. At the same time she is good hearted and compassionate and she acknowledges she too has flaws. If I was in the ensemble I think I would have the nurse's track.