Interviews: On the Red Carpet of the WAITRESS Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival With Sara Bareilles, Joe Tippett & More

Waitress, the Musical - Live on Broadway! made history last night at the Tribeca Film Festival.

By: Jun. 13, 2023
Interviews: On the Red Carpet of the WAITRESS Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival With Sara Bareilles, Joe Tippett & More

Last night, Waitress, the Musical - Live on Broadway! was "Opening Up" at the Tribeca Film Festival!

Meanwhile, in Times Square, 300 ponchos were on hand to pass out to audience members who were waiting in the rain to watch the live capture be broadcast onto TSX Entertainment’s 18,000-square-foot digital screen for the first time in festival history.

Based on the beloved film of the same name, the musical adaptation was created with original music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and captured audiences’ hearts during its run around the world. 

BroadwayWorld caught up with the cast and creative team of Waitress on the red carpet of the film's premiere at Tribeca Film Festival. Find out what Bareilles, Charity Angél Dawson, Drew Gehling, Dakin Matthews, Eric Anderson, Joe Tippett, and more had to say at the opening night!

It's another opening night for Waitress! How do you feel tonight?

Sara Bareilles (Composer, Jenna): It is euphoric. It is so surreal and beautiful to look down this red carpet and see all of my friends and castmates and band members and just this wonderful community that has worked on this show for such a long time. To get to be at this moment where we're at this amazing intersectionality where film and theater are finding their way out into the ether together. We're having a simulcast in Times Square as we speak. It's like bonkers. The whole point is just to get, to bring this show to a wider audience. So I'm just, it's very surreal and really wonderful. 

Drew Gehling (Dr. Pomatter): Oh my God, this is opening number four of Waitress for me. We did out-of-town in Boston. Then we did Broadway and then we did Broadway and now this. It's wild to see how these people have gone from chosen, you know, show family, to now being kind of intimately a part of my life for now so many years. and to get to kind of share all this together again and in this kind of context is nuts. It's gonna be the first time that all of us have like gotten to experience the thing together.

Charity Angél Dawson (Becky): We're talking a A.R.T. opening, Broadway opening, tour opening, Broadway opening back up, and now this. This is opening number five of Waitress for me. I have goosebumps. I'm overjoyed.

Eric Anderson (Cal): Oh, well, it's the gift that keeps giving. We're so grateful to always have excuses to get together and see the family.

Dakin Matthews (Joe): Well, it's only my third opening night, I guess. [Laugh] It feels great. I'm really proud of the show. I'm really glad that they've captured the essence of the play on Film, not tried to make a film of Waitress. There was already a wonderful film of Waitress without music, but capturing the audience's experience with a play. I love that.

Joe Tippett (Earl): I feel pretty good about it. I think a little apprehensive. I'm always like, you know, does theater translate to film? I've seen it done well and I've seen it done not as well. I'm just excited to see what they came up with. I know like Jesse [Nelson] and Sara [Bareilles] were working hard editing and stuff like that, so if it's bad, blame them. [laughs]

Diane Paulus (Director): I am pinching myself. This has been such an incredible journey and to be at the world premiere screening of this and to know that there are people tonight who are gonna see the show and who have never seen it. In the theater, it vanishes and now we have it captured and to share it on the big screen just brings so much joy to my heart. I'm beaming. 

Jessie Nelson (Book Writer): I'm thrilled to be here. This is such a, a magical night for us. We worked really hard on this live capture and it, we shot it during Covid, so the fact that it's here in the world is amazing. 

Michael Rioff (Producer): It's totally surreal. This is wild because I produced the original movie and we premiered it at a festival not unlike this so many years ago. I mean, honestly, the whole day I was just sort of walking around being like, "We're going to another premiere of Waitress? How is this possible?" It's very surreal and it's cool to be in New York back where it all started with Adrienne and where this musical took off. This is awesome. 

Barry Weissler (Producer): This is exciting. You know this, we've never done, I mean, we've been part of the film festival in the past but never a Broadway show. Pretty exciting.

What was it like to film this live capture while you performed the show on stage?

Charity Angél Dawson: I've never really done a lot of film or anything on film. It was a challenge a little bit, but they were like, "Just do you. Just be you. We got our eyes on you." And every now and then they would be like, "Gimme one for the camera." I knew what it meant and I said, "Got you." So they made working with the creative team, they're so, so gracious. The directors, they made it such a wonderful experience where I didn't have to have a lot of anxiety about it.

Joe Tippett: It was kind of crazy because these guys came in, it was Covid while this was happening, and I was in Boston filming a movie called Spirited, so I kind of missed a lot of the process and then came in kind of late and was just trying to play catch up a lot. It's odd to try to calibrate the performance because some of it is taken from the show and some of it, we did some setups and stuff and so when you're doing it to reach the back of the house, you want those people to know. So I'll be interested to see if it seems discombobulated or not, I don't know. I'm just excited. 

Dakin Matthews: It was a very interesting experience. They were very experienced crew. They had just done another one, I don't remember what it was, but we filmed four live performances, plus we filmed for four days during the afternoon. So you couldn't change your performance. You had to work even the empty theater performances at full voice and at full, so they could put them together. So it was challenging. The first time I've ever done that. That was very challenging. 

Interviews: On the Red Carpet of the WAITRESS Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival With Sara Bareilles, Joe Tippett & More
Diane Paulus, Charity Angél Dawson, Jessie Nelson

Millions of people have already seen Waitress on the stage. With this live capture, millions more will be able to watch it. What do you hope people continue to take away from this story and this musical?

Sara Bareilles: The story that originates totally with Adrienne Shelly's heart is about truth and community and hope and resiliency. I say this a lot, but I did a lot of talking to Adrienne. She's no longer with us, and I did a lot of talking to her when I was writing the score. I really feel that she is so embedded into this material and I really hope we did her proud because she created a beautiful world and a beautiful story worth telling.

Charity Angél Dawson: Love and that life can be messy, but that's a part of it. It's literally all of it. It's like everything that she says, "mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie." That's life, you know? So no matter what ingredients get dumped in there, you can always sprinkle it, finagle a little bit and make it into something nice.

Dakin Matthews: Just how glorious the music is. How true it it is to the source material, to the original film of Waitress and yet is sort of unique in its own way. But I mean, to have a first time person write music and lyrics for Broadway show that is this good? Pretty impressive. And it's always nice that she wrote me a song.

Diane Paulus: This is a story that embraces the rough patches of life, that embraces what it means to be hurting and how you find sisterhood and friendship and the courage inside yourself to never give up, to reach for that dream that you've stuck on the shelf that you thought you didn't deserve anymore. This is such a story of resilience and a second chance and a new beginning. I think it's also about a community and how a community can support you through tough times and I think that's a message we need right now.

Jessie Nelson: To me, it's all about love and the power of friendship and the courage to follow a dream. Hopefully it opens hearts. That's its goal.

Eric AndersonI'm excited that this is gonna be forever out there now, along the same lines as the Sweeney Todd and the Into the Woods and Sunday in the Parks that we all grew up with. This is added to the cannon of that. I'm honored to be a part of that.

Lorin Latarro (Choreographer): I hope that every woman who needs strength to walk away from anything finds it in the show. And as a metaphor, it doesn't mean that I'm walking away from an abusive husband, it means I'm walking towards something new.

Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival 

Watch the trailer for the Waitress live capture here: