BWW Review: WAITRESS at Paramount is Charming, Heartfelt, and Funny all Mixed up and Baked in a Beautiful Pie

BWW Review: WAITRESS at Paramount is Charming, Heartfelt, and Funny all Mixed up and Baked in a Beautiful Pie
Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and
Lenne Klingaman in the
National Tour of WAITRESS.
Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Known for her soulful sound in the pop music world, Sara Bareilles burst onto the musical theater scene out of the blue with her smash hit "Waitress". I'll admit some cynicism with this with the attitude of "oh good, another pop star who thinks they can write Broadway." The problem is, she can, and the show is just damn good.

Based on the 2007 film it follows waitress Jenna (Desi Oakley), a woman trapped in an abusive marriage with her horrible husband Earl (Nick Bailey). Her only escape are the amazing pies she's able to concoct that fit whatever mood or situation she's in. But then things go from bad to worse when she finds out she's carrying Earl's baby. Enter Dr. Pomatter (Bryan Fenkart), her awkward but lovable new gynecologist whose dorky charms work like gangbusters on Jenna and the two begin a hilariously ridiculous affair.

This is one of those shows that simply oozes charm and pleases without really trying. They never hit you over the head with the story or go into any flashy numbers, they just have thoroughly engaging characters telling a delightful story through wonderfully moving songs. And it all seems effortless while you're having a blast. I will admit to some difficulty hearing some of the lyrics with this run at the Paramount and it didn't seem to be one performer so hopefully they can work out the sound mix a little better for the rest of the run.

Oakley makes for a wonderful Jenna with a powerful voice and a straight forward attitude that tragically disappears around her terrible husband. Fenkart makes for the perfect counterbalance to said husband with his dorky charm but even he shows his flaws making this feel even more real. Charity Angel Dawson as Jenna's co-worker and friend Becky is a force of nature and brings down the house with her number and is hilarious with their blustering boss Cal played by Ryan G. Dunkin. Lenne Klingman as Dawn, Jenna's other co-worker and friend along with Jeremy Morse as her clingy boyfriend Ogie bring in tons of comedy to the piece and Morse's big number "Never Getting Rid of Me" stopped the show. Larry Marshall supplies oodles of grumpy old man heart as the diner's owner, old Joe. And last, but certainly not least, local actress Bailey Gonzales stole everyone's heart in her few moments at the end as Jenna's daughter Lulu.

It's just a delightful show and the only thing bad I can really say about it is that it's here for too short of a time. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give "Waitress" at the Paramount a delicious YAY. And not to worry, with all of the talk of pies in the show you're sure to get hungry but the Paramount is ready at intermission to sell you little baby pies to satiate you.

"Waitress" performs at the Paramount through September 16th. For tickets or information visit Seattle Theatre Group online at www.STGPresents.org.

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From This Author Jay Irwin

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