Based on the 2007 movie with a screenplay by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress has a book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus.
The achievement gets an asterisk, however, since the 1978 Broadway musical Runaways had book, music, lyrics, choreography and direction solely by one woman, Elizabeth Swados. Latarro takes over for the show's original choreographer, Chase Brock (Spider-Man), who departed the production following its A.R.T. premiere.
The announcement comes just one day after another upcoming Broadway production, the non-musical drama Eclipsed, announced that it would mark the first time the director and playwright and the entire cast of a show will be composed entirely of women.
The Waitress creative team boasts two more women as well: costume designer Suttirat Larlarb and musical director Nadia DiGiallonardo. They are joined by three-time Tony Award winner Scott Pask as set designer, Tony Award winner Christopher Akerlind on lighting and Tony Award nominee Jonathan Deans on sound design. Waitress has two women among its lead producers as well: Fran Weissler and Elayne Herrick, who will produce with Barry Weissler and Norton Herrick.
Following the sold-out, world-premiere production at A.R.T in Cambridge, MA, Waitress will start Broadway previews March 25, 2016, and open April 24 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Jessie Mueller, who won the Tony as Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Beautiful, also starred in the A.R.T. production.
Christopher Fitzgerald, who earned Tony nominations for both Young Frankenstein and Finian’s Rainbow, recently joined the cast as Ogie. He joins fellow Tony nominee Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody), who will recreate the role of Becky that she originated in the show's earlier production at American Repertory Theater.
Waitress, according to press notes, concerns "Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, [who] is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must weigh her commitments against a rare shot at freedom and recognition. Her customers, co-workers, and the town’s handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness — but Jenna must ultimately decide for herself."
Also confirmed for the Broadway production: Eric Anderson (South Pacific, Kinky Boots, Rocky, The Last Ship) as Cal, Drew Gehling (Jersey Boys, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) as Dr. Pomatter, Kimiko Glenn (“Orange Is The New Black,” Spring Awakening, Love’s Labour’s Lost) as Dawn, Dakin Matthews (The Audience, Rocky, The Best Man) as Joe and ensemble members Charity Angél Dawson, Jeremy Morse and Stephanie Torns.
The opening date will make it one of the last shows to open this season before the Tony Awards cutoff date of April 28. The Atkinson is currently home to a revival of Spring Awakening, which is playing a limited engagement there.
Directed by Paulus with choreography by Chase Brock, the A.R.T. cast was led by Mueller (Tony winner for Beautiful) as Jenna, Jeanna de Waal as Dawn, Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter, Dakin Matthews as Joe, Keala Settle as Becky, Eric Anderson as Cal, Jeremy Morse as Ogie and Joe Tippett as Earl.
A.R.T. posted a sizzle video from the production. It features Mueller, Settle and other cast members, plus director Diane Paulus, at rehearsals.
Titled "Waitress: A First Look," the video is currently available only on Facebook.