Review: Waitress, starring Sara Bareilles
After writing the music and lyrics for Waitress, Sara Bareilles took her star turn in her own show, following the departure of Jessie Mueller. Waitress follows Jenna, a small town waitress and expert pie maker, stuck in an abusive marriage who finds out she's pregnant, and tries to dream a way out of her difficult situation with a pie making contest.
In the supporting characters we have Dawn and Becky, who work with Jenna, Cal the cook who runs the diner all the girls work in, Dr. Pomatter (Jenna's OB/GYN), Ogie who is Dawn's love interest, Joe who owns the diner, and Earl who is Jenna's husband.
The cast currently includes Caitlin Houlahan as Dawn, Chris Diamantopoulos as Dr. Pomatter, Charity Angel Dawson as Becky, Dakin Matthews as Joe, and Christopher Fitzgerald as Ogie. Alongside Bareilles' departure from her 10-week run as Jenna in her own show was Will Swenson as Earl.
Stepping into the cast on June 13 are Betsy Wolfe as Jenna and Joe Tippett as Earl. Drew Gehling, who originated the role of Dr. Pomatter alongside Jessie Mueller, will return to the show on June 27 following the departure of Chris Diamantopoulos.
Waitress is a heartwarming and uplifting story. Bareilles' music and lyrics are beautifully translated to fill the Brooks Atkinson Theater. The theater itself has the faint smell of fresh baked pie, a theme that remains through the entire show, as the rest of the cast freezes and Jenna makes up a pie that would fit her situation. Another continuous situation in the show is affairs. Jenna and Dr. Pomatter carry on, despite both being married, as do Cal and Becky. The show justifies it's depiction of marriage, as the characters tell each other that sometimes they need certain things in their lives, in this case, someone better to love. While some scenes are overplayed, leaving the audience feeling slightly uncomfortable, such as the hook up montage of the shows three couples, Jenna and Dr. Pomatter, Cal and Becky, and Dawn and Ogie, it makes up for it, by not shying away from human sexuality and exploration.
Of course, the cutest part of the show, is Lulu, the daughter of Jenna. played by two young kids who alternate the role (and are both very cute), you'll be left with a happy ending that will be sure to lift your spirits a bit.
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