Theatre / News

Interview: Joe Sugg on joining the cast of Waitress

Plus everything you need to know about the West End musical.

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, the musical opened in the UK earlier in 2019.

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.

Joe Sugg joined the cast of the show in early September, taking over the role of Ogie from The Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison, who ended his run on Sunday 7 September 2019. The role was originated in the West End by 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer.

We caught up with Joe during his first week to find out more. Watch the interview above.

The Strictly Come Dancing finalist, filmmaker, author and vlogger makes his stage debut at the Adelphi Theatre.

“I’m so excited I’ve been given the opportunity to play Ogie in Waitress starting the 9th September,” Joe said on announcement. “I got to see the show a couple of months back and it’s absolutely fantastic. I’m excited to be a part of the cast and to have now landed a role in the West End really has topped off an incredible year for me. I hope I do everyone proud and thanks to all my supporters for making it all possible and the best year yet.”

Joe Sugg joins leading cast Lucie Jones (Rent, Les Misérables) – who took on the lead role of Jenna in June – Marisha Wallace, Laura Baldwin and David Hunter.

Relive creator Sara Barreiles discussing Waitress ahead of its West End opening below:

Here’s what you need to know about the show:

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?

Les Miserables and Ghost the Musical star Lucie Jones plays the role of Jenna, taking the baton from Katherine McPhee who played her on Broadway and originated the West End role earlier this year.

Waitress also currently stars Marisha Wallace as Becky, Laura Baldwin as Dawn, Peter Hannah as Earl, David Hunter as Dr. Pomatter, Joe Sugg as Ogie, Andrew Boyer as Old Joe, Stephen Leask as Cal, and Kelly Agbowu as Nurse Norma.

The cast are joined by a full ensemble and swings.

Take a look at our video with the original West End cast discussing what makes the show so special, filmed back at the start of the year:

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
★★★★ “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.

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