I can’t lie: I love pie. And I loved Waitress, although this hit Broadway musical now on stage at National Theatre gave me all the feels (including some unpleasant ones).
With music by Sara Bareilles and based on the motion picture, Waitress follows the lives of three waitresses – one in particular, Jenna – who work in Joe’s Pie Diner in a small town.
Jenna (Desi Oakley) makes the pies every morning just like her late mother taught her how… with emotion. But she’s struggling with all of the other emotions swirling around the rest of her life. She dreams of a way out of her small town and away from her deadbeat husband, but just when she thinks she might be able to cut and run, she discovers that he’s knocked her up!
While she’s baking up a life plan, and having a dalliance with the town’s new married Doctor while pregnant, she’s also baking incredible new pies right and left… and hoping to win a national pie competition that is coming to town. Her fellow waitresses have their own problems – and fresh starts – to cook up. And in the background is the somewhat crotchety old Joe, a lovable character that doesn’t get his due until the end.
It’s a story with a lot of humor, sadness, delight, contrition, passion and love, and while I didn’t agree with all of Jenna’s choices along the way, as Joe points out, it’s the mistakes, the trial and errors, and the unexpected things that you mix in that make life the most sweet and savory.
It’s one to see again and again, but I must urge you to
see it as many times you can while it’s at The National Theatre if only to revel in all that is Ogie (Jeremy Morse). The music is superb and the story stellar, but that guy’s acting… He truly steals the show.
Waitress has an estimated running time is 150 minutes, including one intermission. Recommended for ages 13+
*Images credit Joan Marcus