For anyone who developed a baking hobby over the past year and a half, this one’s for you. The musical Waitress helps usher in the return of Broadway, beginning previews September 2 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Grammy winner Sara Bareilles, who earned a Tony nomination in 2016 for her work as the show’s composer, takes on the central role of Jenna for the return engagement.
Bareilles (Girls5Eva, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert) first played Jenna as a replacement to original star Jessie Mueller; she ended up headlining two more limited engagements throughout the run and did a stint in London’s West End prior to the coronavirus shutdown. She's currently scheduled to star through October 17, with the show running through January 9, 2022.
The cast also includes Christopher Fitzgerald in his Tony-nominated performance as Ogie, Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter, Charity Angel Dawson as Becky, Caitlin Houlahan as Dawn, Eric Anderson as Cal, Dakin Matthews as Joe, and Joe Tippett as Earl. Rounding out the company are Tyrone Davis, Jr., Matt DeAngelis, Andrew Fitch, Henry Gottfried, Molly Jobe, Emily Koch, Max Kumangai, Anastacia McCleskey, Gerianne Pérez, Stephanie Torns, and Nyla Watson. Almost all are alums of the show's previous Broadway and/or touring productions.
Based on the 2007 film, Waitress originally opened on Broadway in April 2016 following a world premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It made history as the first Broadway musical to have women in the top four creative spots: Bareilles, director Diane Paulus, book writer Jessie Nelson, and choreographer Lorin Latarro.
This return run will pay tribute to the late Nick Cordero, who originated the role of Earl on Broadway. The board listing Jenna’s cleverly named confections at the diner where she works includes “A Big Ol Slice of Live Your Life Pie”—a nod to the Cordero song that became an anthem as he battled a severe COVID-19 case. He lost his life in July last year at the age of 41.
Waitress, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler produce alongside Norton and Elayne Herrick, features sets by Scott Pask, costumes by Suttirat Anne Larlarb, lighting by Tony Christopher Akerlind, and sound by Jonathan Deans. Nadia DiGiallonardo serves as music supervisor. Casting is by Telsey + Company.