Waitress is a musical with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson. The musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name, written by the late Adrienne Shelly.
Set in the American South, Waitress follows the story of Jenna, a waitress in Joe’s diner and an amazing pie baker who’s in an unhappy relationship with her abusive husband Earl. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she begins looking for ways out and sets her sights on the grand prize of a nearby pie contest.
I have listened to the soundtrack quite a bit, being a fan of award winning musician Sara Bareilles and even tried to get tickets when I was New York (but was unsuccessful as Sara was in the show and tickets were in HIGH demand!). From this I felt knew the gist of the storyline but seeing the show itself went above and beyond and I fell even more in love with it.
It was full of moments that made me laugh, and moments that made me cry, and I loved the underlying themes of friendship and self-discovery.
Katharine McPhee (as seen on Broadway in Waitress and hit TV show Smash) was a fantastic as the lead: Jenna, and her performance of She Used To Be Mine was so phenomenal that the audience didn’t stop clapping for a good few minutes and gave her a well deserved standing ovation.
The other two leading ladies – Marisha Wallace as Becky, and Laura Baldwin as Dawn are just as fabulous with the talent they bring to the stage. I have seen Marisha previously in Dreamgirls (phenomena performer) and Laura in Eugenius, so I know they were already super talented on stage.
The harmonies the ladies bring as a trio were insane and they sounded as though they’d been singing together for years! Then we have their individual performances too. Laura was hilarious as Dawn really bringing the kookiness needed for the character. Marisha’s performance of “I Didn’t Plan It” blew me away, Kela Settle (The Greatest Showman) sings it on the Broadway cast album; but I really hope they release a London recording as she brings sass and powerhouse vocals to that number!
The rest of the cast were also brilliant in the London transfer, Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock fame completely fit the part of Ogie, Peter Hannah plays the nasty husband Earl, who you want to boo off stage, and David Hunter (back in the Aldephi Theatre after appearing in Kinky Boots) was brilliant as Dr. Pomatter. Dr P and Jenna strike up a relationship and the chemistry between the two is sweet, fun and they have a couple of great numbers in “Bad Idea” and “You Matter To Me”.
I honestly cannot wait to see it again! It’s a show that everyone should see, so if you weren’t already planning on it I’d definitely recommend getting tickets; it’s not a “Bad idea” to book now!
Waitress has now extended its West End run, and is booking at the Adelphi Theatre until 19th October. For more information see online.