BWW Review: WAITRESS Brings the Best Ingredients to the Eccles Theater

BWW Review: WAITRESS Brings the Best Ingredients to the Eccles Theater

The first national tour of WAITRESS at the Eccles Theater brings all the best ingredients for the Broadway experience with impeccable performances in a world-class production.

WAITRESS (book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles) is based on the 2007 film of the same name. Jenna, who works at a diner baking pies and waitressing to make ends meet, feels like her life with her deadbeat husband is at a dead-end. After learning she is pregnant, she meets a new obstetrician in town, and her life is suddenly opened up to unknown possibilities.

The national tour of the Broadway hit has arrived in Salt Lake City with the entire original leading touring cast in tow, and they are phenomenal.

Desi Oakley as Jenna is strong and self-assured, while also lost within herself, searching for what will make her happy. Her acting is top-notch, and her vocals are at once powerful and subtle. Her performance is in a word, sublime.

(Oakley's final show will be Thursday, September 27, after which Broadway actress Christine Dwyer will take over the role.)

The cast is bursting at the seams with talent, including Charity Angel Dawson as Becky, Lenne Klingaman as Dawn, Bryan Fenkart as Dr. Pomatter, Nick Bailey as Earl, and Ryan G. Dunkin as Cal.

Jeremy Morse originated the role of Ogie in the pre-Broadway tryout of the show, and his performance, including brilliant physical humor, is an absolute hoot.

Two of the most delightful performances are Tony nominee Larry Marshall as the curmudgeonly Joe and Rheaume Crenshaw as sourpuss Nurse Norma.

The scenic design by Tony winner Scott Pask and lighting design by Tony winner Ken Billington are understated to fit the setting, but they also pop in theatrical moments of internal daydreams and transitions, executed masterfully by Tony-winning director Diane Paulus and choreographer Lorin Latarro. The thoughtful costume design by Emmy winner Suttirat Anne Larlarb is also grounded in reality but blossoms as Jenna comes into her own.

WAITRESS plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, September 30, 2018. For tickets, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.

Photo Credit: Desi Oakley (Jenna). Photo by Joan Marcus.

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From This Author Tyler Hinton

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