Waitress is an utterly charming musical which will have you laughing and smiling for hours after.
The bittersweet musical follows the story of Jenna (Jessie Mueller), a pie-making waitress who aspires for more. Whilst in an unhappy marriage, Jenna begins an affair and tries to figure out how to get her life where she wants it to be. With music by Sara Bareilles and book by Jessie Nelson, the show really brings out the ups and downs of everyday life.
I was very excited to see Waitress as I had heard many good things, as well being an opportunity to see something new – it is only currently on Broadway. I had listened avidly to the cast album already and had high expectations for the show. I was not disappointed! I was a big fan of Sara Bareilles growing up, so with Waitress being her Broadway debut for music and lyrics I could not wait. Immediately the design and direction stood out, the performance worked effortlessly as ensemble members brought props to and from the stage to aid Mueller as she detached from the action of the show to create a new pie in her head.
Jessie Mueller as Jenna was fantastic, the raw emotion during the turbulent times really stood out; and she sang the score reminiscent of Barielles’ music also. The male actors, however, brought the show together, as they added a lightness and a hysterically comedic tone to the performance. Drew Gehling as love interest Dr. Pomatter was goofy and adorable as he awkwardly navigated the stage. Christopher Fitzgerald’s Ogie was a hilarious addition to the performance, a particular highlight being his rendition of ‘Never Ever Getting Rid of Me’ which had me in tears! William Popp plays Jenna’s abusive husband Earl incredibly well as he even managed to turn the audience against him. Jenna’s waitress friends Becky and Dawn, played by Charity Angél Dawson and Caitlin Houlahan respectively, were deliciously funny as they tried to make Jenna realise her full potential and navigate her to a better place. The harmonies when Jenna, Becky and Dawn sang together were out of this world.
Waitress is comedic gold, with something for everyone; this sweet musical is certainly a hit.