Sunday, April 24, 2016

Waitress @ The Brooks Atkinson Theater

If someone were to tell you there is a place in the city that you can hear killer new music and experience every emotion known to man all the while smelling warm pie wafting through the air, you’d think we're was crazy, right?

Look no further, folks: WAITRESS IS HERE.

The crown jewel of Broadway just arrived at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and audiences couldn’t be more excited (hence their hashtag #worththewaitress)

The story of Waitress is beautifully simplistic: Our heroine marries the wrong guy.  He gets her pregnant. She has an affair with her ob-Gyn. She has the baby and leaves them both. Did I mention she makes pies?

Jessie Mueller took on the role of Jenna (originated by Keri Russell in the 2007 movie) with grace, humanity and ingenuity. Her Jenna was completely different than her predecessor and it left the audience so blissfully connected, you could find them audibly weeping when struggles came afoot. Mueller’s voice filled Sarah Bareilles’s iconic style absolutely perfectly, and her connection to the words- be it playful phrases or palpable pathos- was just an absolute treat.
Her sidekicks Kimiko Glenn and Keala Settle were perfect juxtapositions to Mueller’s Jenna that you couldn’t help but smile and laugh when the three were together at Joe’s Pie Diner. Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter simply stole your heart and served as an amazing hero to Jenna’s tragic tale.

Diane Paulus did wonders staging this beautiful show. Every bit of Jenna’s “out of body” thoughts were physicalized by the ensemble; be it handing her all the ingredients to her hilarious pies or simply going through contractions all together. The fluidity of their movement was flawless and propelled the piece forward. Time simply flew in that theatre. Scott Pask’s set design flipping from Joe’s Pie Diner to the Ob-Gyn’s was so much fun to watch and mirrored the fluidity of the staged movement. Christopher Akerlind’s lighting design is much to be commended for as well. Akerlind captured the color of thought and whimsy as well as absolute sadness in all of Jenna’s thoughts, which provided so much depth to what you were seeing and feeling.
Kimiko Glenn and Keala Settle
So what are you waiting for? Go now to the Brooks Atkinson and see for yourself! But don't have dessert with your meal that evening- you can buy a pie at the door!

Review By: Brittany Goodwin
Photos By: Joan Marcus

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