BWW Review: WAITRESS Serves Up a Delicious Treat at Broadway Sacramento
Waitress has finally made its way to Sacramento, bringing with it all the ingredients a pie should have-sugar, spice, fluff and substance-blended perfectly in a feel-good, empowering show. Nominated for 4 Tony Awards, Waitress is groundbreaking for boasting an all-female creative team: music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles (6-time Grammy nominee), book by screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), choreography by Lorin Latarro (Waiting for Godot), and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland). Based off of the 2007 indie film of the same name written by Adrienne Shelly, the themes in Waitress take on an even deeper meaning because of Shelly's death by violence.
Set in the deep South, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a talented young woman with a vision for creating amazing pies. Unfortunately, her talents do not include choosing men wisely. Married to Earl, who is every negative stereotype of a Southern redneck, Jenna is desperate to find a way out. Suddenly finding herself pregnant raises the stakes and she sees a pie-making contest and its prize winnings as her ticket to freedom.
Luckily, Jenna has her two best friends, Becky and Dawn, by her side to help her navigate the rocky terrain with Earl, the unwanted pregnancy, and an unexpected connection with her gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter. Meanwhile, Dawn is busy exploring a new relationship with her soulmate, Ogie, as they pursue Revolutionary War reenactments and bad poetry. Before the pie contest, Jenna ends up going into labor. The owner of the diner that she works at, Joe, gives her a letter that she is supposed to open after the baby is born-a letter that will touch everybody with its fairy tale ending.
Waitress has a sitcom-like feel, with the important subjects of spousal abuse, infidelity, female empowerment and soul-searching leavened by humor so side-splitting that there is nothing about this show that doesn't make you happy. Like Jenna's pies, a touch of magic occupies the stage with each song, from the powerful, "She Used to Be Mine," to the ridiculously funny, "I Love You Like a Table." Masterful set design and an attention to quality truly make this a cherished experience.
Of particular delight is witnessing such an accomplished cast. Matt DeAngelis (Earl) and Jeremy Morse (Ogie) both reprise their roles from Broadway. Richard Kline, an incredibly versatile actor and director, plays the role of Joe, the old and cantankerous owner of the diner. He is probably most well-known for playing 'Larry' on the popular television series, "Three's Company." It's a testament to his talents that I don't see Larry when he is on stage as Joe.
Waitress is set to be a classic of this era and one that you will want to say you saw on its first tour. The six-piece band and Grammy-nominated songs are the cherry on top of Tony-worthy performances. It is only in Sacramento through January 5, so don't delay!
Tickets for Waitress start at $31 and are available now at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street, Sacramento, or by calling (916) 557-1999; they are also available at the Community Center Theater Box Office, 1301 L Street, Sacramento, or by calling (916) 808-5181, or online at www.BroadwaySacramento.com or www.Tickets.com.
Photo credit: Philicia Endelman