Theatre / Feature

All you need to know about Waitress

The hit Broadway musical has officially opened in the West End.

Hit musical Waitress first opened on Broadway in April 2016 and is the first Broadway musical in history to have four women in the top four creative roles. With a book by Jessie Nelson, a score by six-time Grammy Award-nominated Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Diane Paulus, Waitress has not only now opened in the UK but is also currently touring the US and has recently announced its Australian premiere for 2020 as well.

On its Broadway opening, Waitress was nominated for four Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical; two Drama League Award Nominations, including Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical; six Drama Desk Nominations, including Outstanding Musical; and four Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical.

Watch our chat with Sara Bareilles about the show’s West End transfer below and then read on for all you need to know about the West End’s latest sweet treat:

What Is Waitress about?

Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker, who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life.

When a baking contest in a nearby county — and a satisfying run-in with someone new — shows Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it. Change is on the menu, but only if Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness.

Who stars in Waitress?

Having already played Jenna on the Broadway stage, Smash and Scorpion star Katherine McPhee now makes her West End debut in the same role.

Alongside McPhee, Waitress also stars Emmy-nominee Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) as Ogie, Marisha Wallace as Becky, Laura Baldwin as Dawn, Peter Hannah as Earl, David Hunter as Dr. Pomatter and Shaun Prendergast as Old Joe.

The full company includes Kelly Agbowu, Piers Bate, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Michael Hamway, Stephen Leask, Chris McGuigan, Olivia Moore, Nathaniel Morrison, Sarah O’Connor, Leanne Pinder, Charlotte Riby and Mark Willshire.

Take a look at our video with the cast discussing what makes the show so special:

What can audiences expect from Waitress?

Waitress is a warm, funny and life-affirming musical about the power of friendship and individuals looking to bring about change in their lives. At its heart is not just Jenna’s struggle to escape her loveless, abusive marriage, but the intertwining lives and experiences of her friends and colleagues at the diner where she works – all of which come together in the perfect recipe for transformation and female empowerment.

It is fitting, then, that the creative team at the helm of Waitress are all women, too. And while this show is certainly buoyed by feminine ideals it isn’t strictly a woman’s show.

The universal appeal of Waitress comes from the development of its cast’s flawed, morally compromised characters – the sort you rarely see in this type of glossy Broadway musical. All the characters make questionable, ill-informed decisions and the show’s big number – the exquisite She Used To Be Mine – is Jenna’s rejection of her failings in life.

This isn’t a show full of heroes nor fully rounded happy endings, but it is a show that is it full of hope. It’s also full of humour, which offers a nice balance to the brittle brokenness of Jenna’s situation at home.

The mightiest pull of Waitress is, undoubtedly, Sara Bareilles’ stunning score. Full of beautiful melodies, huge ballads and big ensemble set pieces, Waitress’ score is so accomplished it’s astounding that this is Barielles’ first musical.

What are the critics saying?

★★★★★ “Treat yourself to a slice of five-star musical pie – The Times
★★★★★ “Katharine McPhee is sensational” – The Sun
★★★★ “This show is the real deal” – Independent
★★★★ “Life-affirming & charming, Waitress is a treat” – WhatsOnStage

What else do I need to know?

Waitress is now booking at the Adelphi Theatre until 19 October 2019. The show runs for 2 hours and 45 minutes, including interval.

Get your tickets now via Ticketmaster.co.uk

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