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Interview: WAITRESS National Tour's Gabriella Marzetta Talks Playing 'Dawn' & More!

Marzetta discusses her journey with the show, her favorite thing about playing Dawn, getting to sing fan-favorite 'When He Sees Me' and more!

Waitress (Non-Eq)

The national tour of Waitress is currently making its way across the country, with stops in Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Connecticut, South Carolina and more! Waitress' next stop is at The Kimmel Cultural Campus' Academy of Music in Philadelphia, where it will play from Tuesday, March 29 through Sunday, April 3, 2022.

At the heart of the musical is Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker with dreams of leaving her small town and rocky marriage. Featuring a book by Jessie Nelson, a score by Grammy® Award-winning singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro, and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus, Waitress is an heartwarming, funny, and uplifting celebration of friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

The Waitress cast is led by Jisel Soleil Ayon (Jenna), Dominique Kent (Becky) and Gabriella Marzetta (Dawn) with David Socolar (Dr. Pomatter), Brian Lundy (Ogie), Shawn W. Smith (Earl), Jake Mills (Cal), and Michael R. Douglass (Joe).

BroadwayWorld spoke with Waitress' Dawn, Gabriella Marzetta about her journey with the show, her favorite thing about playing Dawn, getting to sing fan-favorite 'When He Sees Me' and more!

Let's talk about your journey with the national tour of Waitress. When did you get the call that you would be playing Dawn and what were your first thoughts?

It's actually a crazy story that I like to tell a lot. Dawn was my dream role, ever since the Sara Bareilles pop album of Waitress came out. I was like, "Oh my gosh, I have to be in this." Fast forward to spring of 2019. They released auditions, they don't even have an open call, it's super hard to even get an audition for the national tour. I even sent an email, I can't get an audition, I was like, "Okay, well if it's meant for me, it will be meant for me." And then, cut to August, they re-released the role of Dawn on Actors Access. And I just was like, "I have nothing to lose." I sent, like, 12 emails to the casting director, just to make sure that they got it. I said, "Hey, I'm perfect for this role, if you see me, you'll probably cast me." And they saw my email and I was in two or three times that week, and then the next week I got a call from the casting director saying that I booked the role. Which was a pretty cool New York actor moment, like, "Oh my god, this actually happens to people."

That's awesome, I feel like you manifested that.

Oh, 100%, I'm such a believer in manifesting. I think it was a week before the audition was even posted, I was having a classic breakdown in the shower, like, "What do I do with my life?" And I was just like, "Please universe, just give me what I need." And then the next week, that happened. So, I definitely don't think it's a coincidence, I definitely believe in manifesting and saying things you want out loud. I think it makes a difference.

Dawn is such a great character, what is your favorite thing about getting to play her?

I love how we all relate to Dawn, she's so human in the way where she wants control over the little parts of her life that make her comfortable. And I think, also, the part of her that is scared of intimacy and connection, we can all relate to. The lyrics in When He Sees Me, "When he sees me, what if he doesn't like it? What if he runs the other way and I can't hide from it?" I think that is such a relatable lyric that we all feel. Once we show ourselves, will the person accept us? And I think that's really what Dawn represents. And it's so sweet because she finds her person in the show. I think Dawn is just a really sweet character, and represents hope and possibility, and true love.

Speaking of When He Sees Me, that is one of people's favorite songs from the show. What is it like getting to sing that song every night?

Honestly, two and a half years later, it's still so nerve-wracking. It's also one of my favorite songs, and I know it's one of everyone else's top favorite Waitress songs, and it's the song in the show where there's the most movement, and dance. And so, I am nonstop the whole number. Moving like crazy. Dawn is organizing everything she can in the number while she's talking about the possibility of falling in love and losing herself to someone else. And I'm super proud of how far I've come with the number as a performer, but it is still quite a challenge every night. So, it definitely keeps me on my toes because it's not easy. I need to be hoisted in the air, my feet are nonstop moving, it's a patter song, so the breath is not there as much [laughs]. There is not as much time you can breathe. But, the end of the song when I get to stand still and address the audience, and just truthfully say the lyrics, that's my favorite part. It's like, "I did it, I survived the number, I didn't totally mess up." And I get to stand still and be authentic and just say these really true words for those 10 seconds, and it's really sweet. I've come a long way, I'd like to say that!

How has it been working with this fantastic cast?

It's been awesome. I've seen so many different versions of the cast by now. From the first tour in 2019, to this tour, we've had a lot of new people come and a lot of people go, so it's been really cool welcoming so many new people to the diner while also having the bond with the OG people who I started this journey with. It's a whole mess of personalities so there is never a dull moment. We have so much fun on the road. We have so many little cast traditions, we have movie nights, and they definitely make it tolerable while being on the road during a pandemic! I'm very thankful to be in a show with these fantastic people.

What is your favorite thing about being back in front of a live audience?

I think definitely the connection. At the end of the show when the house lights go up a little bit when we're singing the finale, and then during the bows we can finally look out in the audience and see everyone. Because otherwise, we can't see anything on stage. So, just to see people are either wiping their tears away or so filled with joy because they finally saw the show after waiting two and a half years, or however long, I think that's my favorite part. Seeing who's out there at the end. And we've never not had a good time out there. People have always just enjoyed themselves. I think that's what Waitress is all about, it's such a human show, while also being so funny, and making fun of itself at the same time. But the best part of the show I think is the fanbase, the people who show up, and just looking out there at the end of the show and seeing all those people who paid and spent money and time to be there. There is nothing like that after being locked up for two years, you know?

What would you like to say to audience members who are going to come and see Waitress?

Hopefully this goes without saying, mask up. Be cautious of the people around you. If we get sick, then we can't continue to do the show. The pandemic is still very real. So, with that being said, we hope that people can come, enjoy themselves, and lose themselves in this story about sisterhood, and feminism, and believing in yourself and following your dreams. And it's such a good time. I really hope that people can come out and party with us at the end of the show. It's such a good show, and I think that everyone should find themselves in this show through a character, or a storyline, or a song.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

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