BWW Interview: Christine Dwyer as Jenna in WAITRESS on Tour
WAITRESS is a wonderful show that has been entertaining audiences all over North America as it tours. San Antonio, Texas and the Majestic Theatre will have a chance to host this amazing show from January 8-13, 2019. BWW San Antonio recently caught up with Christine Dwyer who is currently playing the role of Jenna on Tour. Check out how she loves to tour, play the role of Jenna and keeps it fun as she shares what makes WAITRESS such a great experience for her.
Tell us how you got interested in performing.
My mom always brought me to shows at a music theater outside of Boston. I always grew up seeing things like that. Then I wanted to do the school plays. It didn't hit me that this is what I wanted to do for a career until I was thinking about going to college and I couldn't think of anything else that I really wanted to go to school for. I started auditioning at different programs and ended up getting into the Harrt School at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. I spent four years there and graduated with a BSA in Musical Theater and then moved to New York and started auditioning. The first tour that I got on was the RENT National Tour and played Maureen. Through that I got in with that casting company, Telsey. They hired me for WICKED, they hired me for WAITRESS so it's a good casting company to get to know right off the bat. I've been doing that for the last ten plus years now; ever since I've been working professionally.
And you were involved with WICKED for a long time; on Broadway as well as on tour.
I did that show (WICKED) for almost six years. I started in the ensemble understudying Elphaba on the tour. I worked my way up on that tour then got moved to the Broadway Company and did the same thing. I ended up getting to play Elphaba full-time on tour and then on Broadway a couple of different times. I did it on Broadway off and on for two years.
Now, you're getting a chance to tour with WAITRESS. Can you tell us a little about playing Jenna? What are some of the thingS you have in common with her?
I love the character of Jenna. She's really smart but she's in a tough spot in her life. Her intuition in wanting to leave and change her life is great but, she has a hard time with the follow through. I find [it] fun to play because I feel the same way in my life. It's definitely a similarity that we share. It's interesting. It's a different kind of musical than I've done. It's not like WICKED where you have big splashy sets and smoke and crazy costumes. It's set in a diner very much like a slice of life. It feels more like a movie than it does a musical. We deal with a lot of dark subject matter. Abuse, we deal with people not being particularly happy with their stage in life and moving forward and getting through it and still keeping the dream alive. Their situation can change. I really like that part of the show. I love telling that part of the story. I love the fact that it's a female centered show. The last three bows are women which never happens. I think it's cool. It's my favorite role that I've ever played because it's so different than the traditional female lead of a musical. You don't get to delve into a lot of stuff that this musical delves into in other shows. It's exciting to bring it around the country and see how people react and see people be moved by the production.
Matt DeAngelis is your fiancé in real life and he plays your abusive husband, Earl in WAITRESS. How is it being in the show with him especially since it's so opposite of your real-life relationship?
In the show, they don't have a great relationship. We thought it was going to be weird, but, it's fun. The scenes are pretty intense but it's fun and easy to do with someone you trust especially for him. It's hard when you're playing a guy who is abusive towards women. Playing that onstage with someone you don't necessarily trust, I imagine it would be hard. With us, it's easy and we have a good time. It's fun to talk about the craft of theater and acting with him as opposed to seeing each other in shows. It's fun to experience it.
Another unique part of the WAITRESS tour is the fact that you cast two local girls to play the part of LuLu at the end of the show. That must be a lot of fun for everyone on the tour.
It's fun. They're like four years old. They have no filter. They are authentically themselves all the time. It's nice to meet the different girls and their families in the touring production. It's a different kind of thing. We're with them for a few days. We get this burst of personality and then we move on. It makes that part of the show exciting, plus, it's nice to have a little local hometown hero in the production everywhere we go. They get the biggest applause at the end of the show. It must be so exciting because you're that young and to have your little sister or your daughter onstage with seasoned actors. We have a good time.
If you had not gotten into show business, what do you think you may have done?
The only thing that has stuck with me is cooking. I've always thought about going to culinary school. At some point, I would like to Take That course and get some sort of a degree. I didn't have the passion that I have for this. That's the only other thing I've thought about doing in my life. It's another creative thing. You have a bunch of ingredients and you throw them together and try to figure it out. It's very similar to theater and it's similar to the show that I'm in right now. It's about baking your worries away. That's her meditative place. It's mine too.
Don't miss the opportunity to see Christine Dwyer in San Antonio as it comes to the Majestic Theatre for one week only, January 8-13, 2019. Get your tickets at the Majestic Theatre's website www.majesticempire.com. And don't forget the local girls who will have a chance to play LuLu in WAITRESS in San Antonio only - Four year old Georgia Hallmark and five year old Annie Crane.
PHOTO CREDIT: Philicia Endelman