Last night I saw the new Tony-nominated Best Musical, Waitress, currently playing at the Brooks Atkinson theatre.
Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a pregnant waitress with a gift for making creative pies. She is trapped in an unhappy marriage and looking for a way out, and sees an upcoming pie contest as her chance. Jenna also starts a passionate affair with her gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter. Jessie Nelson wrote the book for the musical, which is based off of a 2007 independent film.
Jessie Mueller plays the main character, Jenna. The role is incredibly demanding- she carries the show and has very little offstage time. She earned a well-deserved Tony nomination for her performance, and her emotional rendition of the show's hit song "She Used to Be Mine" is one of the highlights of this Broadway season. But the real scene-stealer is another 2016 Tony nominee, Christopher Fitzgerald, the comic relief of Waitress. He plays Ogie, the hilariously quirky boyfriend to Dawn (played by Kimiko Glenn), Jenna's friend and another waitress at the diner. Fitzgerald stops the show at the penultimate scene of Act I with his comedic antics and big song. Other cast standouts include Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter and Nick Cordero as Earl, Jenna's abusive husband.
Pop star Sara Bareilles wrote the unique score. The songs are very different compared to the standard "Broadway" sound, and are a perfect fit for Waitress. My favorite include the opening number "Opening Up," Ogie's showstopper "Never Ever Getting Rid of Me," and Jenna's powerful 11-o-clock-number "She Used to Be Mine," which I mentioned earlier.
I give Waitress 8/10 escapes, as there were a few songs/scenes that dragged a bit. But on the whole the show is a must-see for the performances and Bareilles' pop score.