Award-winning musical Waitress, based on the 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly, opened its Broadway doors in April 2016 and has been charming audiences ever since. Sara Bareilles, an American singer-songwriter renowned for her hit single Love Song, wrote the music and lyrics and has subsequently starred multiple times as the main protagonist, Jenna. With the show having just announced its West End transfer for spring 2019, I went to see the Broadway showing to review and let London audience members know what a treat they are in for.
“The theatre is filled with the scent of freshly baked pies“
The plot follows Jenna, a waitress at a diner in Southern United States, who has found out she is unexpectedly expecting, and with her abusive and alcoholic husband nonetheless. Throughout the show, and her quick-developing pregnancy, we see Jenna enter into an intimate relationship with her new gynaecologist, Dr Pomatter, who is also married. As a way of escape and to bring aid to her inexpedient life, Jenna bakes pies, something that becomes clear that her mother taught her to do when she was young. As the show progresses, Jenna faces decisions about her affair, her husband, and bringing a new life into the world which could make or break her future.
The entrance to the auditorium at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre is filled with the scent of freshly baked pies. Small, jarred versions of the ‘Pie of the Day’ are available to buy which immediately sets the scene for a heart-warmingly satisfying show.
Betsy Wolfe captured the audience with her portrayal of Jenna. She allowed just the right amount of fragility, honestly balanced with independence that spoke not just through her acting, but her numerous musical solos. This was especially apparent when she sang the most emotional musical number of the show, ‘She Used to be Mine’.
“Bareilles has composed a beautiful score, which perfectly encapsulates the emotive language that Broadway presents“
But it was Christopher Fitzgerald playing the character of Ogie who stole the show. Ogie spends most of his time on stage professing his love for another worker at the diner, and his main musical number ‘Never Ever Getting Rid of Me’ is enigmatic but charming and will leave even the straightest of faces with a smile.
Bareilles has composed a beautiful score, which perfectly encapsulates the emotive language that Broadway presents along with the individuality that her music provides. You will be stuck singing the songs for weeks to come, which really is not a bad thing.
This show is not one to be missed and as it sets the date for its West End premiere, there really is no excuse. It will certainly make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and that is just the freshly baked pie!