Quirky characters abound in Waitress! The national tour swept through Denver, serving up unique pies and beautiful, heartfelt songs. Based on the 2007 film with Kerri Russell and Nathan Fillion, the musical was brought to life with music by Sara Bareilles.
As you walk into the Buell Theatre, audience members are greeted by the beautiful backdrop of a latticed cherry pie. The protagonist, Jenna, is a pie maker and waitress in a small Southern diner. She is also unhappily married and newly pregnant, and she calms herself by coming up with pie names and recipes to match the events in her life. When Jenna discovers she is pregnant, she comes up with a recipe for “Betrayed by my Eggs” pie.
The music was fun and mostly upbeat, and never better than singing numbers with the three Old Joe’s waitresses, Jenna, Becky, and Dawn (played by Desi Oakley, Charity Angel Dawson, and Lenne Klingaman, respectively). Especially delightful is Lenne Klingaman, who Coloradans might recognize as the title character from Colorado Shakes’ Hamlet this summer. Her frantic portrayal of nerdy Dawn, who has never had a boyfriend, is endearing, and you really root for her character to find love.
While there was not much to complain about with this musical, the staging with the ensemble sometimes seems strange. The sound Bareilles is going for could be achieved with the ensemble singing offstage, but overall it did not interrupt the flow of the show. The set backdrops were incredibly beautiful and realistic, and the whole show is decked out in bright, vibrant colors, with the exception of Jenna’s dismal home with her abusive husband, Earl.
Waitress is the perfect “new beginnings” show to see right around the New Year. And with the first all-female production team in Broadway history, any feminist theatre buff would be thrilled to see Waitress. The show only runs through December 31, so go see it over the long weekend!