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'Waitress' the Musical
The story of Jenna is told through song as she tries to understand her abusive husband, her bad-luck baby, her doctoral affair, and her love of pie baking in her small town life. The premise itself is engaging and will keep audiences on the edge of their seats, but adding in Sara Bareilles's songs adds a whole new ingredient.
Sara Bareilles, the Pop Goddess
Her strong voice and vocal range led her to success as a female empowerment anthem singer. Since bursting onto the music scene in 2007, upon the release of "Love Song" at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, she's sold over one million albums and had over nine million singles downloaded in the US alone. With six Grammy nominations, TV spots on shows such as NBC's The Sing-Off, and being named 2012 VH1's 80th spot for the Top 100 Greatest Women in Music, Bareilles has certainly earned her place among music's best.
Sara Bareilles, the Theater Guru
Since 2016, Bareilles has been best known as the lyricist and composer for Broadway's hit musical adaptation of Waitress. The score has since earned Bareilles a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score and a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album.
She has even starred in the lead role of Jenna for many performances. Her star-studded cast of friends has also been rotated in and out with performances including Gavin Creel, June Squibb, Al Roker, Katherine McPhee, Jason Mraz, and many others.
'Waitress' the Musical
However, Waitress is more than just Bareilles's stardom. The music, plot, acting, and singing are all top notch, no matter whose turn it is to star. Recently having attended the play with no stars appearing, the play was still amazingly well-done and kept me engaged the whole time, even after having seen the original movie numerous times.
The original production of Waitress premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge in August 2015, with direction by Diane Paulus and choreography by Chase Brock, and starring Jessie Mueller, Drew Gehling, and Joe Tippett as Jenna, Jim, and Earl, respectively. It made its Broadway debut at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April 2016. A US national tour began on October 20, 2017. In 2019, Waitress will also be opening at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End.
For the Broadway production, elements of the book were rewritten, new choreography developed, and a new song written by Bareilles. Manhattan baker, Stacy Donnelly, and small business owner, Dawn Mayo, of Everything Dawn Bakery Candles & Treats, were also hired for the project. Donnelly was hired to ensure that the baking scenes were realistic, who taught the cast how to work and roll pie dough, as the role of Jenna required cracking eggs, sifting flour and rolling out dough on stage. Mayo was hired to create all of the realistic prop pies used throughout the show. To help immerse audiences, real pies are warming as they enter the theater, creating the aroma of a pie shop—yes, slices of pie are for sale.
It's a "Bad Idea" to miss this.
If given the opportunity to see Waitress the Musical, don't miss out! If you're not able to attend the play, I still suggest checking YouTube for snippets of the play and listening to the cast recording, which is available for purchase on iTunes and other listening platforms.
There is also a playlist of the cast recordings available on YouTube, as well as the original movie if you're intrigued enough to find out more.
But missing this musical is a "Bad Idea."