Pop songs, pies and empowerment. Here’s everything you need to know about Waitress…
How do you like your musicals? With an all-female team, reams of catchy tunes and equally strong plot you cry? Then it’s time to get clued up on Waitress.
The broadway musical has come to London and tells the story of a small town waitress called Jenna who makes a darn good pie.
More than that, it explores her rocky marriage as well as themes of empowerment, friendship and love.
And we mentioned the pies, right?
Here’s everything you need to know about Waitress…
1. The creative team is an all-female affair
Amazingly, when it opens Waitress will become the first musical in history to be brought to the West End by an all-female creative team.
In contrast, a recent study found that three quarters of West End musicals in the last ten years didn’t feature a single woman on their writing team and that male writers outnumber women 9:1 in British musicals.
Waitress are making history with their creative team that features the best of the best in musical theatre, from director Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin) to writer Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam, Stepmom) and songwriter Sara Bareilles (Love Song, Brave).
2. The story is relatable
The key to a great musical is tapping into universal themes that everyone can relate to and therefore feel rightly roused to leap from their seat and join in with the chorus.
Waitress is the relatable story of a woman dissatisfied with her job and with the innate feeling that she’s destined for more.
It tells the tale of a small town, yep, waitress and expert pie maker Jenna (Katharine McPhee) with high ambitions.
She dreams of escaping a tumultuous marriage and pours her energy into making delicious pastries that reflect her life (we need ‘The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie’ on our menus stat please).
Things really get exciting when a baking contest comes to town and offers more than just a medal.
Mary Berry eat your heart out.
3. The writer is all about smashing the glass ceiling
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting through a bad musical you’ll know that the plot threading the songs together is just as important as the music.
Luckily, Waitress has Jessie Nelson at hand. The writer and producer has worked with Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg and Julia Roberts on Hollywood films including Stepmom and Corinna, Corinna so knows her stuff when it comes to carving a good story.
She herself worked as a waitress when she first came to Hollywood and fought the good fight to smash the glass ceiling when it came to bringing her ideas to life as a female writer.
For instance when Stepmom came out it was one of just two films in the box office top 20 that featured a female writer.
4. The songs are Grammy-worthy
Naturally, if you’re heading to a musical you want to be sure that the songs hit the mark.
Waitress has that cast iron assurance in the form of Sara Bareilles, who’s in charge of music and lyrics.
You’ll have heard the US singer-songwriter’s anthems Love Song and Brave and you might know about the seven Grammy Award nominations she’s racked up throughout her career.
You might not know that she’s also added a Tony award nomination to her bow for Waitress.
One of the show’s early numbers Opening Up is an earworm that evokes the bustle of the diner Jenna works at while we defy you not to shed a tear at the emotional She Used To Be Mine.
5. The director was inspired by the movie
If you’re making a musical, you want Diane Paulus on the case.
The Tony-winning director is a stalwart of musical theatre and nails the balance between comedy and tragedy in Waitress.
Before moving to broadway the musical was a 2007 film directed by Adrienne Shelly, and it’s something that Paulus knew would translate well to the stage.
“Certain movies have that heartbeat,” Paulus explained in an interview.
“They have that potential to be even more fully realised in the musical-theatre format, to have a second life.”
Waitress is at the Adelphi Theatre in London. Book your tickets now.