Review: The Touring Company of WAITRESS Brought Flavor, Song, and Heart to the BJCC CONCERT HALL

The touring company of Waitress brings so much flavor you want to come back for seconds.

By: Nov. 09, 2021
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Review: The Touring Company of WAITRESS Brought Flavor, Song, and Heart to the BJCC CONCERT HALL

If you are skilled in the kitchen you know sugar, butter and flour are the holy trinity of baking. "Waitress" is a moving musical made with a similar simple recipe. Take two people, mix them with love, and let it rise.

"Waitress" is based on the 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly. Orders up at Joe's Pie Diner, a small southern town greasy spoon that sports a delicious menu of dozens homemade pies crafted with love by Jenna (Jisel Soliel Ayon) a young pie maker extraordinaire. She credits her mother's cookbook for inspiration and reflection. Her life is a recipe with spoiled ingredients. She's in an abusive marriage with Earl (Shawn W. Smith), a selfish rotten egg who peaked in high school. Instead of supporting Jenna to be a rising soufflé, he consistently flattens her spirit into a crepe. The play opens as Jenna learns she has an unexpected baby on the way. There is also an upcoming baking competition that has enough prize money to make a fresh start. This gives her the long needed motivation to rewrite her recipe of a bitter future into one with rich flavor. Another unexpected ingredient arrives to town in the form of the very handsome and very married ob-gyn Doctor Potamatter (David Socolar). From Jenna's first examination the two of them fall into romantic flambé that heats up fast. Like most fires in the kitchen, it gets dangerous.

Review: The Touring Company of WAITRESS Brought Flavor, Song, and Heart to the BJCC CONCERT HALL

The butter and flour to Jenna's sugar are her fellow waitresses at the Pie Stop. Becky (Kennedy Salters) is a soulful and bawdy belter. She's taking care of her invalid husband with what she brings in at the diner. Dawn (Gabriella Marzetta) mousey, comically anxious, and a hopeless romantic. Behind the grill is Cal (Richard Coleman) He runs the diner with a broken spatula, and abrasive sarcasm. Rounding out the cast are Dawn's suitor Ogie (Brian Lundy) a clowny, bookish oddball with explosive comical stage presence. Joe (Michael R. Douglass) a rusty old nail who is a regular the diner, and Norma (Vanessa Magula) a quick-witted deadpan nurse with an ever watchful eye.

Review: The Touring Company of WAITRESS Brought Flavor, Song, and Heart to the BJCC CONCERT HALL

What stands out the most in "Waitress' is how the characters are not perfect. They each are just trying to find love. The warmth in Sara Bareilles moving music reflects this familiar realism. These characters are all flawed and have a fluid moral compass. There is a tart sweetness in seeking a connection with someone, even if it overshadows reason.

Sweet notes - Jisel Soliel Ayon serves Jenna a soaring voice and touching performance. Shawn W. Smith brought energy into his performance of the wretched bastard Earl. David Socolar gives Doctor Potamatter a memorable comedic spirit and a strong, polished voice. Michael R. Douglass (Joe) gives familiar notes of a loveable gruff grandpa.

Sour notes - Kennedy Salters fell into playing Becky as a caricature/type instead of a layered character. It took Gabriella Marzetta (Dawn) a good while to get into a rhythm where her performance had teeth. Richard Coleman (Cal) delivered lines way too quickly and didn't pause for laughs.

Review: The Touring Company of WAITRESS Brought Flavor, Song, and Heart to the BJCC CONCERT HALL

The meringue smooth quick transitions are choreographed with flair. The simple sets are full of character. Costumes, lighting, and hair & make up are on point. The audio mix of the vocals was low and hard to hear. The energetic ensemble gave strong voices and consistent momentum.

This recipe of "Waitress" still holds up and is full of flavor. The female centric story is an empowering journey of growth, family, and love set to wonderfully memorable music by Sara Bareilles including "She Used to be Mine", "When He Sees Me", and "Never Ever Getting Rid of Me" This touring company of "Waitress" leaves you wanting to come back for a second helping.

Website - https://waitresstour.com/

Review: The Touring Company of WAITRESS Brought Flavor, Song, and Heart to the BJCC CONCERT HALL

 


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