Streaming: Sara Bareilles Dons Her Apron Again For The Special Engagement Feature Film WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL

Sara Bareilles Back Again For The Big Screen

By: Dec. 04, 2023

Streaming: Sara Bareilles Dons Her Apron Again For The Special Engagement Feature Film WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL Welcome to another installment of Little Bobby’s thoughts on some streaming THEATRE coming to you from the fab children at Bleecker Street Media!  So jump in the stream with us, and let’s see if our rainbow lands on a pot of gold.

From the opening strains of WHAT’S INSIDE (Sugar, Butter, Flour…), Sara Bareilles’ heartfelt voice rings out the truth of Jenna’s story. Without ever having seen or heard any part of her Broadway hit WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL, one knows that the woman we are seeing and hearing has had a life that, so far, has not been ideal, but when she is laser-focused on her superpower of making pies, she is touched by something divine - it’s all in that voice, my angels.  As those few lines segue into the first big number of the show, OPENING UP, and Jenna is joined by Becky (Charity Dawson), Dawn (Caitlin Houlahan), and the rest of the company, Joe’s Pie Diner springs to life with all its countrified customers doing what they do each day, as Dawn sings about how those days all look the same. Jenna and her world move smoothly through the first twenty minutes and 5 musical numbers of the show with sparse dialogue setting up the circumstances of Jenna’s bedraggled life, her baking, her recent life-changing news, and her meet-cute with the meat-cute Dr. Pomatter, her new gynecologist. 
 


Filmed live at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, and screening for 5 nights in cinemas starting December 7, this Bleecker Street Media (bleeckerstreetmedia.com) produced film is of the 2021 post-pandemic remount production of the multi-award nominated hit that ran for nearly 1600 performances from 2016 to 2020. WAITRESS was the first Broadway musical to boast an all-female production team, with Diane Paulus as director, Sara Bareilles as composer and lyricist, Jessie Nelson as book adapter, and Lorin Latarro as choreographer. All of these wonder women combined to make lightning in a bottle with a show that, for some strange reason, did not pick up a single one of the Tony Awards, and only one Drama Desk award, for which it was nominated. (FYI it was the fab character man, Christopher Fitzgerald, who took home the Outstanding Featured Actor In A Musical Drama Desk.) Those blatant oversights notwithstanding, my dear Bobby readers, this gorgeous film of the live show is a seamless work of art in music, writing, direction, and movement. Each of Paulus, Nelson, and Latarro’s transitions from song to scene and back again, and from scene to scene, happen swiftly and organically, moving the audience to and fro through Jenna’s near tragic circumstance and inevitable finding of real love… and then there are pies… and then there is Brett Sullivan’s swift camera work. This is a piece of theatre that has been translated beautifully by a most adept film director placing his movie audience into the live performance. 
 


Bareilles made her way in the pop world, creating songs that were filled with story and dramatic tension, and, so, the Great White Way became her street as a part of nature’s course. She just fits here in NYC and on that stage, both as a creator and performer. She is a gifted actress, and this musical she helped create with the other fantastically talented ladies fits her like a glove. Working side by side by side-kicks with Houlahan and  Dawson, the triumvirate of servers at Joe’s Pie Diner support each other in sisterhood, as women should. Both of Jenna’s besties, in the hands of two such fine performers as Charity Dawson and Caitlin Houlahan, are as finely crafted from page to stage as their leading lady, and their solo work on their big numbers, WHEN HE SEES ME (Houlahan) and I DIDN'T PLAN IT (Dawson), are not just highlights of their gifts - they make themselves reasons to see this show, as much as star Sara Bareilles does with her Jenna. Bobby must stop here a moment and mention another woman behind WAITRESS, and that is writer and director of the wonderful 2007 OG feature, Adrienne Shelly, whose untimely death robbed us all of years of work from a treasure trove of creativity. We just know that she would be proud of this version of her story. 

Along with her fellow female creators and cast members, Bareilles and Co. have crafted an empowering piece for all who have ever felt trapped by life, regardless of gender, but leave us not forget the gentlemen of waitress, here, my dears. As mentioned before, it is the award-winning, rubber-faced Christopher Fitzgerald playing Ogie, the haplessly hilarious, overeager suitor to Houlahan’s Dawn, who is rightly given the novelty number NEVER EVER GETTING RID OF ME, which he transforms into a star turn, adding theatrical clown work and even comedy Ballet moves (and a cartwheel) to his mix. Adding the darkness to the proceedings is the marvelous Joe Tippett (THE MORNING SHOW) whose scary Earl (abusive husband to Jenna) is disturbing in his performance because he is alternately so hateful, dangerous, AND attractive that he suckers the audience in with his SmarmNcharm, and then hits us with his soulful Country & Western wail on YOU WILL STILL BE MINE. making  you see why someone might go with the “Bad Boy.” Nerd-Hot good boy Drew Gehling, as Jenna’s new-found Gyno & paramour Dr. Pomatter, is just the right amount of ticky, nervous, lanky mannerisms to be really funny, in support of Bareilles, and then he sings… and moves from Nerd-Hot to just Hot. Eric Anderson is perfect as the slovenly diner cook/manager Cal who stumbles into his own depth of humanity with the help of employee Becky. Finally, there is veteran actor-director-writer-playwright-teacher-Shakespearean Dakin Matthews as Joe of Joe’s Pie Diner, the rich irascible curmudgeon who never fails to order the ever-changing pie specials of the day. In the loving arms of Matthews, a role that could so easily descend into irredeemable (think Mr. Potter) stereotypes soars with the rest of the cast by showing humanity through the crust. 

If you have read this far, my dearlings, then you know that Little Bobby was completely captivated by this film of WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL, a show that really does, as its press release says, “...  celebrate the power of friendship, dreams, the family we choose and the beauty of a well-baked pie.”  And so we wholeheartedly award WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL (Filmed Live In Performance) ...

5 Out Of 5 Rainbows

For now, my angels, you will NOT be able to dial this one up on your streaming TV - This MOVIE will play In Theaters Starting December 7 FOR 5 NIGHTS ONLY!

Get Your Red Hot Tickets: HERE

You Can Read All The Credits For WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL On Its IMDB Page: HERE

 

The Official Bleecker Street Site Is: HERE

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