In 2007, a little film called Waitress charmed the Sundance Film Festival thanks to a relatable story and an excellent performance from Keri Russell. Some years later, the film caught the eye of Jessie Nelson, who, despite writing most of her work for the screen, adapted the movie for the stage by writing the book for a musical. The work was a collaboration with pop star Sara Bareilles (“Love Song,” “Brave”), who wrote the music and lyrics for the musical. The show follows the story of protagonist Jenna, who lives in an unhappy marriage and works, naturally, as a waitress. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she begins an unlikely affair with her gynecologist. Drama ensues, of course, as do a series of rousing musical numbers like “When He Sees Me” and “She Used to Be Mine.”
Waitress first played at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts beginning in August 2015 before making its Broadway debut at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April 2016. Audiences were fell in love with the character of Jenna, rooting for her to live her best possible life. “Waitress has an excellent ratio of sweet to tart; supporting characters who provide crustiness and flakiness; and cooked-to-perfection staging by Diane Paulus,” wrote David Cote for TimeOut New York. Jesse Green at New York Magazine praised Bareilles’ work, writing, “Bareilles...manages better than almost any recent crossover songwriter to find clever, charming hooks that tie her character- and scene-defining numbers to story particulars.” A national tour of Waitress begins in Cleveland in October 2017.