Theatre Review: Waitress National Tour in Albuquerque, NM, 12/13/19

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Waitress * Book by Jessie Nelson * Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles * Directed by Diane Paulus * National Tour at Popejoy Hall, UNM 12/13/19

I reviewed the Waitress first US national tour in December, 2017 HERE. This is a review of the Waitress US national non-Equity tour which began in November, 2019.

The musical Waitress is about Jenna, a diner waitress who is at a crossroads in her life, and the journey she takes as she comes to terms with the ramifications of her choices, slowly at first, then all at once. By the end of the show, her life is both drastically changed from the life she had at the beginning, but also still comfortingly familiar. Jenna manages to grow and get what she needs without losing what she already has that’s good in her life. But she also leaves the worst of her old life behind as she learns to stand up for herself and leave fear behind.

She’s contrasted with and supported by her two fellow waitresses, Dawn and Becky. Dawn is younger than Jenna, single, even more fearful and with less confidence and experience of the world. She posts a profile on a dating site under the name NewDawnRising which leads her to meet OKCWithaBullet, otherwise known as Ogie, who shares a love of Revolutionary War reenactment with her.

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Theatre Review: Waitress National Tour in Denver

Waitress the Musical

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.

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