BWW Previews: WAITRESS at The Playhouse

The Sara Bareillus Musical

By: Nov. 22, 2021
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BWW Previews: WAITRESS at The Playhouse

WAITRESS entered the American zeitgeist as a somber, dark movie at Sundance years ago. The present producers of the musical had the vision to purchase the rights. They also had connections with celebrated Broadway director and Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (HAIR, PIPPIN) and Grammy Award winner - and feminist hero - Sara Bareillus, who transformed it into a hilarious and beloved hit musical. The music blends both pop and musical theatre. The entire creative team are women.

There have since been 2 national tours, the second of which hits The Playhouse for a run from November 18-21.

Aisle Say had the opportunity to chat with the effervescent Gabriella Marzzetta. She portrays Dawn, who works with Jenna, the pie maker extraordinaire at Joe's Pie Diner, the show's setting. Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as "The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie" and "Betrayed By My Eggs Pie." When a baking contest in a nearby county - and a satisfying encounter with someone new - show Jenna a chance at a fresh start - she must find the courage to seize it. Change is on the menu, as long as Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness. On Broadway, Barellius herself played the starring role.

Gabriella's Dawn is also a waitress at Joe's and soon becomes fast friends with Jenna and Becky. Her character is criminally shy and sees her friends' not so nifty marriages as a reason not to date or get romantically involved, deciding to be alone in her studio, eating TV dinners to a schedule - chicken kiev on Mondays and veal piccata on Tuesdays. She has a rare turtle collection, loves the History Channel and has played Betsy Ross in 33 revolutionary war re-enactments. (now, that's a dynamic byline!) You might call Dawn anal, proving that Gabriella is a wonderful actress! Aisle Say considers her a card-carrying extrovert post conversation.

Gabriella first saw WAITRESS when it opened on Broadway years ago. "This is MY show. I must be in this." Not securing an audition for the first tour, she showed her resolve and emailed the producers 12 times for a tryout for the second. And now, here she is living her dream in a 9 month, mostly sold-out tour. (Actors must never give up)!

Jenna, Becky and Dawn would never have become friend save for Joe's Pie Diner. They are 3 very disparate personalities from totally different walks of life, making for a good plot line. The audience pulls for Jenna to save her own life but also creates an arc for the other characters to finally realize their own humanity and self-worth. These 3 become their own 'chosen family." Gabriella suggests that everyone in the audience can connect to one of the three main characters.

While there is no typical Broadway-style choreography, the 'pantry people' in the shop become a sort of Greek Chorus and add immeasurably to the dynamism, fun and energy of the production.

(Note: You may have heard that due to ME TOO and the divisiveness of our 4 years with the Orange Emperor, that Broadway shows during COVID were forced to rewrite some plot lines; THE BOOK OF MORMON being Case #1. While the WAITRESS is the same show that originated on Broadway, the producers decided to soften the abusiveness of Jenna's husband. To wit: Instead of 'he got drunk and hit me,' it becomes 'we got drunk'. And, the American flag that Dawn was quilting becomes an LGBT flag, celebrating the sentiments of the creative crew and cast). Gabriella is joyous over this experience and is so devoted that she would not tell me how it ends. I dunno, Aisle Say will go out on a limb and say 'uplifting.'

WAITRESS: November 18 - 21 @ The Playhouse 302.888.0200 800.37.Grand

Next Up: SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical December 4-5