By Aaren Abigail, December 3 2019 —
Joe’s Pie Diner opened up with fresh, new faces as the cast of Waitress toured across North America. Waitress premiered in Calgary, Alberta in the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, on Nov. 19, it brought about a somewhat nostalgic picturesque with Bailey McCall playing the lead character, Jenna.
McCall is the newest addition to the show’s long line of Jennas’, which include Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller, Sara Bareilles and Katharine McPhee. Following this addition, McPhee was welcomed back to the stage as Broadway’s final Jenna on Nov. 25. She is set to close out the show until the end of its run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Jan, 5 2020.
The national touring cast is not only led by Mccall, but she is also includes Kennedy Salters as Becky, Gabriella Morzetta as Dawn and David Socolar as Dr. Pomatter, Brian Lundy as Ogie, Clayton Howe as Earl, Jake Mills as Cal and Michael R. Douglas as Joe. The ensemble includes Ryan Ballard, Jerica Exum, Stephanie Feeback, Olivia London, Kelly Krauter, Trey McCoy and Ryan Washington.
Based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress follows the inspiring and heartwarming story of Jenna, a hard-working waitress and pie-maker who works at Joe’s Pie Diner. Throughout the musical, the music and lyrics depict the hardships Jenna has had to endure through her mother’s death, a shaky marriage, an unlawful affair, an unexpected pregnancy and her dreams of a way out of her small town. Jenna sublimates her heart and desires into the pies that she bakes, as she crafts and names them according to her life occurrences such as “A Little Wild, Wild Berry Pie” and “Betrayed by my Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest presents itself as a chance for a fresh start, Jenna has to find courage within herself to seize it.
Above all else, Waitress is a story written by women, about women, for women. Waitress is the first Broadway musical in history to have four women in the top four creative team spots, with a book authentically re-invented by Jessie Nelson, a score written by seven-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus. The Waitress Tour features choreography re-created by Abbey O’Brien and direction re-created by Susanna Wolk.
Waitress illustrates the importance of friendship built on love and understanding through the simplicity and sincerity of the bonds between Jenna, Becky and Dawn. The show is unapologetically feminist as it tackles the harsh realities of the lives of women in today’s modern American society. The emotional arc of Jenna’s character resonates with most women we all know in our everyday lives, ranging from our mothers to our female acquaintances, as it addresses the honest vision of women never receiving enough credit or satisfaction in life even when they wear their hearts on their sleeves and give it everything they’ve got.
This touching and exceptional musical has Jenna on a journey to discovering a recipe for her own happiness, while also giving her the chance for trial and error as she learns that starting fresh in another place will not bring her the contentment she seeks. With this as its central theme, we learn from all the characters that it is imperative that we give thanks for the little things in everyday life that bring us happiness. Waitress reminds its audience that we shouldn’t place our happiness in someone else’s hands, and neither should we base our free will on the need of someone else. Within this show, we learn that when we set our eyes straight for our goals we can overcome whatever turbulences come our way, and that we can all find our own path to happiness.