Waitress * Book by Jessie Nelson * Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles * Directed by Diane Paulus * First National Tour at the Buell Theatre, DCPA, 12/19&20/17
Waitress is one of my favorite shows of all time. I’m telling you this up front because there’s no way that this can be an unbiased review. A company would have to butcher the show very badly for me not to enjoy it. Thankfully, the first national touring company, who began this tour in Cleveland, Ohio in October, are excellent across the board, so no worries.
Waitress is the story of a young diner waitress and master pie baker named Jenna (Desi Oakley), who discovers that she’s pregnant by her abusive husband, Earl (Nick Bailey). Her best friends and coworkers, Becky (Charity Angél Dawson) and Dawn (Lenne Klingaman) rally around her while also coping with their own romantic issues. As her pregnancy continues, Jenna becomes closer to her doctor, Dr Pomatter (Bryan Fenkart) and the diner’s elderly owner, Joe (Larry Marshall). The diner’s cook and manager, Cal (Ryan G Dunkin), provides a curmudgeonly foil to the ladies, while Ogie (Jeremy Morse), Dawn’s 5 minute date, brings some lightness to the diner.
One Day More…
It was great to see Frozen a second time time on Saturday night, the production’s third performance. The show had already made changes since Thursday night. Most noticeably, the lighting has been upgraded, which makes everything look more polished, and helps the ice effects. I still feel like they come up short in several places, but the stronger lighting added depth and sparkle that wasn’t there on Thursday. The improved lighting makes the whole production feel much more like it’s ready for Broadway instead of community theatre.
This review is based on the world premiere opening night performance, 8/17/17. There are MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. I go into detail about many aspects of the show. I also, as usual, share my opinions and theories. Also, as usual, I call it as I see it. If you can’t handle honest opinions, this isn’t the site for you.
There’s a lot to love about the live version of Frozen, most especially the cast. But my conclusion is that they needed Julie Taymor, the uber talented director who brought The Lion King to the stage, to midwife this show, as well. This show needed to be a spectacle show that focussed on the two sisters’ relationship and journeys to full adulthood, and on Elsa’s ice creations, much as The Lion King manages to both focus on Simba’s relationships and coming of age story, and the pageantry of the costumes and props, without the spectacle overwhelming the characters or story.
Here is the first look at the costumes for the four main characters in Frozen the Musical, reports about the show from the local Denver CBS news station, and the fourth video in DCPA’s video series, an interview with choreographer Rob Ashford.
We walked between Greg Moody, the Denver CBS TV critic, and the merch stand, as he was filming the report, when we left the theatre. We’re not in the video, though, the camera was pointed at Greg and the Frozen media backdrop. I’m surprised he didn’t show or mention the many, many adorable little girls who were dressed up, either in their Elsa dresses or their own best dresses. There were some great fashion statements going on.
This should be obvious, but just in case, there are spoilers for the Broadway-bound Frozen stage musical ahead.
Just a few quick thoughts tonight, and some photos. Not of the show itself, of course. Disney would take this site down faster than I can type this sentence. Same for audio, only they’d threaten me even more. There should be professional photos available now that the previews have started, so I’ll post those when I find them.
The show was, as advertised, longer than the movie, with new songs and more depth added to some of the characters. Things were changed from the movie, such as the order of some events and details of how some things happen, but the story is still largely the same. The changes had mixed success, in my opinion.
It’s finally here! The Frozen Broadway Musical makes its preBroadway debut in Denver on 8/17 at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. To celebrate, the theatre is releasing a series of interviews with the cast and creatives. I’ve posted the first three, and will add more as they post them.
It’s not the dream cast that I came up with, but it looks like it’ll be amazing! We’ll be there this weekend, and will post more from Denver. Time to go pack!
Hedwig 12-10-16 Mat Review – EUAN AND HANNAH TIME
These were my initial thoughts after seeing Euan and Hannah the first time, with some minor edits to make it a little more coherent. (I was very excited and fangirling all over the place.) My main impression was: HANNAH. My review of the evening show is below my review of the matinee.
As soon as she came out on stage I was taken with her. She looks a LOT like Lena, more than Shannon does, and she has a catlike quality that I haven’t seen in a Yitzhak before. The way she carries herself is captivating. When she made her announcement just before the show, I loved the way she spoke. She sounded a little like she was singing even then, particularly in one little part where she almost did a little trill, of sorts. Then she started SINGING. Her voice is beautiful. It’s very clear and pleasantly high-pitched but full and husky, and the way she uses it is effortlessly smooth. The little riffs and trills she does are amazing. She tends to slide down at the ends of notes (called a glissando, I’m a huge fan). Her voice reminds me of a stream, the smooth transitions she makes from note to note.
First Off, Euan Morton’s Legs Go on Forever
No other Hedwig can pull off a high kick like this man. I mean, WOW. Y’all probably know I’m a Darren Criss fan, and I find it hard to resist anything Andrew Rannells or John Cameron Mitchell turn up in. But Euan has the best legs. (I’ll concede to JCM fans if anyone wants to argue with me.) Hedwig also has tattoos in this incarnation, a partial sleeve on her left arm that runs up over her pec, and several smaller ones on her right arm. (Including a zia, the sun symbol of the Zia people and New Mexico, the metawitches home state.)
But, on to more important things. Euan’s Hedwig is closer to a combination of NPH and John Cameron Mitchell in manner than any of the others. Great with the physical comedy. She’s more sad than angry, and both graceful and clumsy at the same time. She’s loose and flexible, rolling around on the stage more than any other Hedwig, I think. She rolls down the car windshield and right onto the floor at the beginning of Angy Inch. Euan’s Hedwig puts on a good face and keeps soldiering on until she. just. can’t. do. it. any. more. Then, SHE’S DONE. And she breaks down completely during Long Grift/Exquisite Corpse. She’s broken, and can’t even hold her head up.