One of Broadway's worst-kept secrets is finally official—there is a live filming of Waitress, captured during the musical's 2021 Broadway return with composer-lyricist Sara Bareilles leading the cast as Jenna. The film will make its world premiere as an official selection of the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival, set to be held June 7–18 in New York City. The schedule of screenings has not yet been announced. The news was announced by the production on social media.
The news follows audience reports of a performance being filmed in 2021. Bareilles essentially confirmed the existence of the official filming last year by briefly sharing footage of her watching a rough cut of the live stage capture on her Instagram stories. The Tribeca announcement is the first official news for the film.
Adapted from the 2007 film and featuring a book by Jessie Nelson and a Tony-nominated score by Bareilles, Waitress was developed and premiered by Massachusetts' American Repertory Theater before debuting on Broadway in 2015, picking up four 2016 Tony nominations including Best Musical. The work made a Broadway return at the Ethel Barrymore following the COVID-19 shutdown beginning September 2, 2021, sticking around through December 20. Bareilles (Into the Woods, Girls5Eva) first played Jenna as a replacement to original star Jessie Mueller; she ended up headlining two more limited engagements throughout the original run and did a stint in London’s West End prior to the coronavirus shutdown.
This return run paid 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 newly included “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 2020, at the age of 41.
Bareilles is joined by the musical's complete encore run cast, including Christopher Fitzgerald in his Tony-nominated performance as Ogie, Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter, Charity Angél Dawson as Becky, Caitlin Houlahan as Dawn, Eric Anderson as Cal, Dakin Matthews as Joe, and Joe Tippett as Earl. The Broadway encore company was rounded out by Tyrone Davis, Jr., Matt DeAngelis, Andrew Fitch, Henry Gottfried, Molly Jobe, Emily Koch, Max Kumangai, Anastacia McCleskey, Gerianne Pérez, Stephanie Torns, and Nyla Watson.
Waitress, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler 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.
Diane Paulus directed Waitress for the stage, and is joined by Brett Sullivan and book writer Nelson to direct the live stage filming. Alecia Parker is executive producer of the screen capture, with Michael Roiff, Barry & Fran Weissler, Bareilles, Nelson, and Paul Morphos serving as producers.