Everything you need to know about Waitress the Musical
Baking up a storm on Broadway, Waitress is coming out of the oven to the West End’s Adelphi Theatre next year. Full of friendship and good pie, what can we expect from the musical’s London premiere in February 2019?
Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre
What is Waitress about?
Inspired by the 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress tells the story of Jenna Hunterson, a waitress who enters a pie competition in order to give her baby the best start in life. The film was then adapted for the stage, with the book by Jessie Nelson and music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, whose hits include “Brave” and “Love Song” which peaked at number 4 in the UK charts.
After a workshop in 2015, the musical then premiered on Broadway in 2016. The show continues to run on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Featuring songs such as “She Used To Be Mine”, “What’s Inside” and “The Negative”, Waitress is a show full of good heart and Southern charm.
What’s the story?
Waitress and pie baker Jenna Hutchinson is trapped in a small town and an unloving marriage to her alcoholic husband. Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, Jenna tells her gynaecologist she does not want the child, but seeing a pie contest with a grand prize, Jenna enters to give her and the child a new start. Saving up money to leave her husband, she returns home to find her husband has spent the money, leaving Jenna to question everything. In order for her to create new beginnings, she has to face her emotions head-on and confront her fears even if they’re mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie.
Who starred in the original cast of Waitress?
Katharine McPhee led the cast of Waitress as Jenna Hunterson. Appearing on American Idol in 2006, she gained notoriety on the NBC hit musical series Smash as Karen Cartwright, a small-town actor who dreams of performing on a Broadway stage. Her final performance was on 15th June.
Marisha Wallace stars as Becky after the role was originated on Broadway by Keala Settle. Currently starring as Effie White in Dreamgirls, she has also starred on Broadway in Something Rotten and Aladdin. Laura Baldwin will play Dawn, with previous stage credits including Big Fish and The Little Beasts and Eugenius at The Other Palace.
David Hunter plays Dr. Pomatter and Peter Hannah plays Earl. Jack McBrayer appears as Ogie, making his West End debut in the production.
The cast is completed by Kelly Agbowu, Piers Bate, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Michael Hamway, Peter Hannah, Stephen Leask, Chris McGuigan, Olivia Moore, Nathaniel Morrison, Sarah O’Connor, Leanne Pinder, Shaun Prendergast and Charlotte Riby.
Where can I listen to the soundtrack?
- “What’s Inside” – Jenna and Company
- “Opening Up” – Jenna, Becky, Dawn, Cal and Company
- “The Negative” – Becky, Dawn and Jenna
- “What Baking Can Do” – Jenna and Company
- “Club Knocked Up” – Nurse Norma and Female Ensemble
- “Pomatter Pie” – Band
- “When He Sees Me” – Dawn, Jenna, Becky and Company
- “It Only Takes a Taste” – Dr Pomatter and Jenna
- “You Will Still Be Mine” – Earl and Jenna
- “A Soft Place to Land” – Jenna, Becky and Dawn
- “Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” – Ogie, Dawn and Company
- “Bad Idea” – Jenna, Dr Pomatter and Company
- “I Didn’t Plan It” – Becky
- “Bad Idea” (Reprise) – Jenna, Dr Pomatter, Becky, Cal, Dawn, Ogie and Company
- “You Matter to Me” – Dr Pomatter and Jenna
- “I Love You Like a Table” – Ogie, Dawn and Company
- “Take It From an Old Man” – Joe and Company
- “Dear Baby” – Jenna
- “She Used to Be Mine” – Jenna
- “Contraction Ballet” – Jenna and Company
- “Everything Changes” – Jenna, Becky, Dawn and Company
- “Opening Up” (Finale) – Company
What awards has Waitress won?
Waitress was nominated for four Tony Awards in 2016, including best musical and best original score. Jessie Mueller was nominated for best performance by a leading actress in a musical and Christopher Fitzgerald was nominated for best performance by a featured actor.
At the 2016 Drama Desk awards, Christopher Fitzgerald won the award for outstanding featured actor in a musical for his performance as Ogie. Waitress was also nominated for outstanding musical, as well as outstanding book for Jessie Nelson and Sara Bareilles nominated for outstanding music and lyrics.
The Waitress soundtrack was also nominated for the best musical theatre album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
What did critics have to say about Waitress?
“This story about a woman’s life, told entirely from her point of view, is beautifully championed – and gets a sterling boost from American import Katharine McPhee, reprising the role of Jenna that she has also performed on Broadway, who has an effortlessly natural acting style and an alternately soaring and throbbing singing voice, not least in the show’s Act Two power ballad “She Used to Be Mine”.
London Theatre Guide
“That is where the bravery of this show lies: in the tale of a woman who is living her life by putting one foot in front of the other every day. She has dreams. In this show, a dream does not make you delusional. A dream is a soft place to land”.
New York Theatre Guide
Waitress Facts and Figures
The creatives behind Waitress were the first ever all-female production team on Broadway. It includes Adrienne Shelly, Jessie Nelson, Sara Bareilles, Diane Paulus and Lorin Latarro.
Pies are baked before the show for an authentic diner aroma in the auditorium. The theatre is scented by baking fresh pies with lots of cinnamon in order for the aroma to waft around and still be strong enough.
For those who want to get baking in their own kitchen, “Sugar, Butter, Flour” is the official Waitress cookbook where you can make pies inspired by Jenna Hunterson. Whether it’s a deep blueberry bacon pie or a chicken pot pie, this is the perfect gift to surprise any musical theatre lover with a penchant for cooking.
Where can I see Waitress in London’s West End and how do I get there?
Waitress will play at the Adelphi Theatre located on the Strand (WC2R 0NS). The nearest train station is Charing Cross, which is a 4-minute walk away. Underground services are available at Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines). Embankment and Leicester Square tube stations are also nearby.