BWW Review: WAITRESS Serves Up a Sweet Treat for Columbus
Oozing with sweetness, the irresistible WAITRESS is serving up goodness in Columbus, Ohio just in time for the holidays. Led by an all-female creative team and powerhouse Director Diane Paulus, WAITRESS will leave you feeling satisfied with its simple ingredients that produce scrumptious results.
Originally performed by Tony-Winner Jessie Mueller, WAITRESS tells the story of expert pie maker, Jenna, who dreams of getting a fresh start from her unhappy marriage and small town existence. Her plans are temporarily halted when she finds out she's pregnant by abusive husband Earl; but a local baking contest, handsome new doctor, and supportive friends are the perfect ingredients to help create her own new life.
At Tuesday's opening night performance, the show was stopped early in the first act due to technical difficulties with a set; however, "where there's a whisk there's a way," and backstage crew members were able to get the show up and running after about a 30 minute break.
The superb trio, Jenna (Desi Oakley), Dawn (Lenne Klingaman) and Becky (Charity Angel Dawson), are the "sugar," "butter" and "flour" of the show with Jenna as the emotional core.
As Jenna, Desi Oakley radiates with her warmth and kindness as she courageously moves forward to find happiness in her otherwise unremarkable life. She meets the awkward yet handsome (and married) gynecologist, Dr. Jim Pomatter (played winningly by Bryan Fenkart), who becomes enamored with Jenna and her "biblically good" pies. The two carry on their fling until Jenna finally puts her own dreams ahead of everyone else's and ends the affair. Oakley's ballad in the second act, "She Used to Be Mine," exemplifies her unwavering strength and resilience as it oozes with emotional vulnerability.
Charity Angel Dawson plays the feisty and bawdy Becky who serves as the pillar of strength among her friends. She belts out an incredible "I Didn't Plan It" in the opening of Act Two. As the polar opposite, Lenne Klingaman portrays a quirky and shy Dawn who meets her equal, Ogie (played by the hilarious, scene-stealing Jeremy Morse). Resistant at first, Dawn eventually falls for Ogie and they sing a delightful "I Love You Like a Table," which was one of the show's refreshing musical highlights.
As Jenna's abusive husband, Nick Bailey, he receives just enough boos from the audience to show his strong character, yet his portrayal was also tempered by a spineless immaturity that was anything but threatening.
With cleverly-named pies to keep the momentum moving forward, WAITRESS serves up moments of humor, warmth, and genius that are grounded in emotional authenticity and female fortitude. You won't want to miss this charming musical that is now playing at the Ohio Theatre through November 12, 2017.
Tickets start at $34 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and online at www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Orders for groups of 20 or more may be placed by calling (614) 719-6900.