Waitress – Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park

MARCH 28 – APRIL 8, 2018

 It’s an “easy as pie” decision to grab some girlfriends and go see the cooking themed musicial Waitress!   The musical is all about friendships, relationships, motherhood, loyalty, love, and pies! I mean who doesn’t like a good musical and pie, right? The production is uplifting and full of laughs, and tears.  Warning tip:  Don’t go hungry or you will die of starvation because of all the pie talk!

The musical is based on the beloved 2007 movie Waitress.  It is all about women and their struggles and it was created by a team of women that features the original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), choreography by Lorin Latarro (Les Dangereuse Liasons, Waiting For Godot) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland).  .

Here’s the plot: It’s the story of Jenna who is a downtrodden waitress who works in Joe’s Pie Diner making amazing homemade pies.  Her beloved mother passed on the talent to her in the hopes that it could help her be successful but she’s trapped in a small town in the south in a dead-end job and in a loveless marriage.  She dreams of escaping both but now finds herself in a real predicament – she’s pregnant.   If that’s not enough to deal with, she pays a visit to her long time doctor only to find that she’s retired and there’s a handsome new doctor in town who’s more interested in her than her baby OR her amazing pies.  There’s only one big problem with the new man in her life – he’s married.  Oh, what’s a girl to do?  Well, if you’re Jenna you bake more pies and give them hilarious personal, life names such as  “Betrayed by My Eggs Pie”, “My Husband’s A Jerk Chicken Pot Pie”, “Marshmallow Mermaid Pie” and “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie”.

Jenna  loves to create new pies with lots of sugar of course but also some very creative ingredients.  She demonstrates through song “What’s Inside” how she makes her pies and with the song “What Baking Can Do” how it helps her deal with her depressing  life.    But there is some hope on the horizon for Jenna.  There’s a baking contest in a nearby county that may be the way out of her dead-end existence.  And just maybe the new doctor in her life might actually be the answer to her love life.  Meanwhile Jenna’s best friends and fellow waitresses, the frisky and feisty Becky and the dorky but adorable Dawn are by her side to lift her up with advice, laughter, and support as she deals with this new wrinkle in her already beat down life.  Becky (Charity Angel Dawson) delivers the “been around the block” strong and sassy role with a big and soulful voice that will leave you wanting more.

Jenna not only makes magical pies but she’s also loved by everyone who knows her including the grumpy and grouchy diner owner Joe.   Their banter in the diner is endearing and sweet and it’s a real showstopper when Larry Marshall who plays Joe belts out “Take it From an Old Man”.   Another standout performance that will have you seriously laughing out loud is Jeremy Morse as the hysterically manic character Ogie.  He’s Dawn’s new (and first) love interest that she’s met on a dating site  and goes by the online name “OKC with a Bullet” (that should give you a hint to his level of coolness).   His song “Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” is brilliantly funny and when you put Ogie and Dawn together they will become your new favorite couple.

Desi Oakley delivers a solid and believable performance as Jenna.  She’s sweet as southern pecan pie and balances that with a sorrowful sadness that feels genuine.  She can also belt out the songs in a big voice which reminded me a little of Reba McIntire.  When she sang “She Used to be Mine” in the second act she had me and most of the audience in tears.   Her interaction with her jerky husband Earl (played almost too well by Nick Bailey) will break your heart and will make you want to break Earl’s head.

All the performances are strong and contribute to the fun that Waitress brings to life.  The young actress Eliza Chabot who plays LuLu is pure delight when she makes her appearance at the end of the performance the audience cheers! I love it when that happens!   The sets are creative with the diner interchanging easily with Jenna’s tired and sad home.  I also really liked the ingenius way the band slides on and off the stage and becomes part of the diners set.   This musical is not heavy on dancing but I found myself not really caring because it is heavy on the  music.  I don’t always have a desire for the sound track but I do for this one.

As funny as it is, Waitress deals with a lot of real issues and sometimes uncomfortable subjects but it does so with heart and some adult humor (leave the kids at home for this one).   There are moments where most of us can relate.  Bad relationships, career disappointments,  unrealized dreams,  and yes, the one that got away.  But through it all we have our friends and family who love us anyway, the knowledge that there’s always tomorrow, and oh yes, there’s always pie.

Waitress is a perfect girls night out!  Single tickets for the Dallas engagement of Waitress, starting at $20 (pricing subject to change), are now on sale atDallasSummerMusicals.org or by phone at 1 (800) 745-3000. They can also be purchased in person at the Music Hall at Fair Park Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dallas Summer Musicals 2017-18 season continues with the thrilling, spectacular and unforgettable Les Misérables, April 24-May 6, 2018; Disney’s The Lion King, winner of six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, June 13-July 7, 2018; the spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies: The Phantom Returns, July 24-August 5, 2018; and closing the season will be the hilarious new musical School of Rock, based on the hit film, August 15-26, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

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