I usually am not a fan of the idea of movies being turned into Broadway musicals, something that seems to be more and more commonplace these days, but for some reason I was excited about the prospect of Waitress as a Broadway musical the second I heard about it. I loved the movie written by Adrienne Shelley starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. I’m still sad about Shelley’s tragic death as we’ll never get to see what other great things she may have created. It’s nice that her existing work continues to gain new life though.
The music in the show was written by Sara Bareilles, whose music I enjoy. The music in Waitress very much sounds like it was written by her, so if you have a strong aversion to her for some reason this show probably isn’t for you.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie, but from what I can remember the Broadway production seemed very faithful to it, but not in a way that made it feel constrained. It still felt like it’s own thing, but most importantly it kept the feeling of heart that was the center of the movie.
The Broadway production stars Jessie Mueller as Jenna, the titular waitress, who finds herself falling for her obstetrician after her abusive husband gets her pregnant. With encouragement from her friends in the diner she starts to think about bettering her life for herself and her future child. Part of the story is that Jenna is a fantastic pie baker and thinks of new pie recipes to suit her feelings about particular situations. I wasn’t sure how that was going to work in the Broadway production, but I thought they incorporated it really well. My only complaint about the pie baking, which I realize I’m being ridiculous about, is that she’s playing with pie dough as part of the choreography and the baker in me couldn’t stop thinking about how she was handling the dough way too much.
Despite some sort of heavy stories, the show is really light and just plain fun. It’s really not any great dramatic work, and I don’t think it will be a show that people are going to be talking about years from now. However, if you’re looking for a fun outing to the theatre this completely fits the bill. It really was just completely delightful from start to finish. I’m not sure it’s something anyone think to take kids to, but just in case I will say it’s not a really kid friendly show. There’s lots of sex talk and one fairly explicit simulated sex scene. So leave the kids at home and enjoy a fun date night on the town. I presume this show will tour before it eventually goes off into Broadway graveyard in the sky, and when it does if it comes near you I would highly recommend seeing it.
One of the great things they did for completing the experience was sell little pies in jars before the show and during intermission. I of course could not resist getting one. They had apple, cherry, and cookies and cream. I went with the apple. It was really more of an apple crumble than a pie, but it was still delicious so I’m not complaining. I’m really glad I got to see this show before it shuffled off of the Great White Way.