BWW Interview: Steven Good of WAITRESS
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with actor and on-stage doctor Steven Good about his experience on tour with Waitress. The heartfelt new musical with a score by Sara Bareilles is opening at the Tulsa PAC in a little over a month. In honor of Pi Day, BroadwayWorld is excited to share this exclusive interview with Mr. Good. (Our conversation was edited for brevity and clarity.)
What is it like to be on tour with a show like Waitress?
We're all living the dream in a way, getting to do this incredible show and getting to do what we love. But we're in a new city every week pretty much, and so basically your day off is a travel day. So you kind of have to make the most of the time that you're not working, and also be prepared to go on stage. And you're also away from your home base. I'm married, so I'm away from my wife, and she comes up when she can. But today we're in Miami Florida for the first time and it's 8 degrees in New York City. I spent the day on the beach before the show tonight!
How do you maintain work-life balance, and what is your favorite way to keep in touch with family and friends who might be far away?
Your cast and crew are not only your co-workers: they're your social network on the road, sometimes for years at a time. They kind of become your family in a way, but you're also kind of stuck with them! So you kind of have to take all the bad and all the good and kind of find that chemistry between you.
For me, the hardest part is being away from my wife. This new app called Marco Polo has been really helpful for me. It's like a walkie-talkie. I talk to my wife every day, even though she's a teacher and she's on her own schedule, and I'm traveling through different time zones. So it can be hard to find a time to link up.
It's also important to find your own people within the company, who you gel with and enjoy doing the same types of things with. There's a lot of couples on our tour: people who are getting married, or are married, or are dating. Also couples have that community, that connection, but they're around each other all the time, so it's a give and take.
What is your favorite thing about this particular cast?
We roll so deep in our cast. The understudies are absolutely incredible and the show is extremely well-cast: not only with people who are perfect for their roles and incredible performers, but also care deeply about the story. Everyone strives to make it fresh and discover the moments in the moment as if it's the first time they've happened. It's such a beautiful story, and we're very fortunate to have people who care about telling the story. In musical theatre, you can often get performers who have spent a lot of time focusing on their voice and not so much on the craft of acting. We have a great ensemble of both singers and actors.
Tell me a little bit about your character, Dr. Pomatter. How are you like him or different from him?
He is the main character's gynecologist and he's super neurotic. He's so nervous, and awkward, and kind of sad about the place that he's at in his life. But I'd say I can definitely relate to some of that nervous energy. I've had hundreds and hundreds of auditions, and I'm very well-acquainted with nerves and having to deal with them for myself. But that's given me a lot of knowledge of how they affect me, and where they come from, and that's been really fun to put into the character and play the humor of it. Because it can kind of just take you over. But he is also very sweet and very kind. Not to toot my own horn, but those are traits that I try to foster in my own life. He's not faithful to his own wife in the show, which I am, so that's different, but he's full of heart and his heart is on his sleeve throughout this entire performance.
What do you think makes Waitress special?
It's everything you want in a Broadway musical. It's got a ton of humor from all different angles, and it's got a tremendous amount of heart. One of the things that Sara Bareilles really focused on when she was writing these songs is these characters. They push the plot forward. And these moments of heart and humor are so well-balanced and paced throughout the entire show. You'll have "Soft Place to Land" which is this beautiful song that three of the girls sing, and at the end, you have Cal come out and say "I'm leaving before I die of estrogen asphyxiation." And as an audience member you're so ready to laugh when that comes out. I've seen the show a lot now, training for the role and I've seen it on Broadway and I listen to the soundtrack, and depending on where I'm at in my own life, it hits me at a different point in the show. It's a different point that will make me really emotional. It's a very special production.
It's an all-female creative team, which is very rare for a Broadway show. But it's also got a lot in there for guys. You'd think, "Waitress? Oh it's a girl musical!" I even had that bias when I went and saw it, and then after seeing it... there's something in there for everyone. But especially if you're a daughter that has a relationship with your mother, you probably won't get out of there without wiping away a few tears.
If you could sum it all up, why should everyone in Tulsa come see Waitress?
You're going to be really sad if you miss it!
Is there pie?
There is pie. We sell pie in the lobbies. And the set is lined with pie cases, and there are probably 50 or so different pies in the show. It's how the main character copes. It's almost like her journal or therapy session: everything she's going through, she bakes it in a pie. And she's really, really good at it.