‘WAITRESS’ IS A DELICIOUS NEW MUSICAL WITH JUST ENOUGH LOVE, WIT AND FUN TO MAKE THIS THE BEST
PIE TASTING FALL FESTIVAL
Joe’s Pie Diner is open this fall at SHN Golden Gate theatre, the flour, eggs and sugar are a sweet mix. Sara Bareilles’ and Jessie Nelson’s pop musical WAITRESS is now on stage at the Golden Gate stage only through November 11th. The pie creations dreamed up by Jenna, make her the best baker and WAITRESS. The talented piemaker, played by Christine Dwyer, sings about the new pie she is inventing in the opening number, “What’s Inside.” The mix of flavors is delicious and she is joined by her fellow workers, smart Becky played by Charity Angel Dawson and quirky Dawn played by Jessie Sheldon. The band, who rolls onstage, and other assemble are ideal bringing the first-time musical composer, and Grammy nominee, Bareilles hit to this charming story of a woman’s love for baking and changing her life. The Tony nominated musical based on the 2007 indie film is made of ingredients that wouldn’t seem to belong together. WAITRESS combines into a delicious stage musical adaptation that is now pleasing audiences on its National Tour directed by Diane Paulus, and choreographed by award winning Lorin Latarro.
Adrienne Shelly wrote, directed and co-starred in the film; her diverse empowerment is uplifting in the musical. Shelly was murdered in 2006 and her inspiration and memory is important to WAITRESS. Women are key in the creative positions of this proud production. Sara Bareilles, the singer-songwriter of hits of like “Love Song” and “Gravity,” brings a pop wonder sound as a first-time composer-lyricist for the stage. The story’s main character is Jenna, a small-town pie-baker and waitress in her 30s. Her husband Earl is controlling and abusive who never has enough money. Her friends who work with Jenna in the diner, Dawn and Becky sing “Club Knocked Up” as Jenna learns she’s pregnant. Jenna must create the strength and courage to rebuild her own life, and her wonderful themed pies make that happen. She bakes 27 pies every day including some that express her feelings like; Big Guy Strawberry, Polka Dot Peach, Lost Shepard’s, Deep Shit Blueberry and, of course, Baby Baby Pie.
Paulus’ direction and Latarro’s choreography are splendid with the 22 member ensemble and their charming vocals/ harmonies as Joe’s Diner shifts in scene changes with a live band. The onstage musicians of six conducted by Lilli Wosk is the perfect mix for Jenna’s pies and the customers at JOES PIES as they talk and mix with the band. Cal is the big, grumpy,short-order cook, played by Ryan G. Dunkin, who is stern with the waitresses, but humble when the commanding when Becky challenges him. Dunkin and the girls sing “Opening Up” to introduce the cast. Joe, the owner, is played by senior Larry Marshall, who is the lovable iconic regular at his own diner. Joe looks over Jenna like a grandfather, and his care for her is adorable. Marshall’s solo “Take It From An Old Man” is lively and the staging with the company is winning. Bryan Fenkart as Dr. Pomatter who is Jenna’s obstetrician has an awkward crush on his patient. Fenart’s and Dwyer’s marvelous duet “Bad Idea” is sweet apple pie magic. The office nurse Norma is played by the graceful Rheaume Crenshaw, who clearly disapproves of the budding relationship between patient and doctor, but loves those pies. Jenna’s daughter Lulu is played on alternate performances by two local kids, Coco Stats and Eva Carreon and they are both aspiring.
The awesome Jeremy Morse as Ogie stops the musical as Dawn’s virgin crush. He is a hoot in “Never, Ever Getting Rid of Me.” The wonderful show stopping number is an audience favorite as he brings back memories of some classic on stage physical comedy gems. Dwyer has her own stage stopping moments including the pop hit “She Used to be Mine” that Jenna sings in the second act that has become a pop hit for Bareilles, and Dwyer. It brought some of the sold out opening night audience to their feet. This story is a shout out to awkward love and friends. The show’s villain is Jenna’s husband, Earl, played by the gruff Matt DeAngelis, who seems to not be as developed in the story. DeAngelis plays his “MeToo” evil male so well that even during the cheerful curtain call he is booed and not welcome, the sign of a great character actor.
Director Paulus kept the staging busy, and the wonderful Diner set by Scott Pask and the colorful costumes by Suttirat Anne Larlarb balance the show so it is not too pop or camp. The prop count for this musical is amazing with so many pies and all the tools and ingredients that go into the process. Dwyer has to touch or work with over 500 props for each performance,-- are the pies real? *A small army of eight bakers provide the show with 32 real pies onstage a week. The pie team bakes from a small bakery with a handful of convection ovens that can push out four full-size pies. The privilege of getting a whiff of baking crust in the hallway every day is a perk for this touring company.
Bareilles’ songs are personable, some country, others catchy pop favorites like “I Love You Like A Table” and the hit “What Baking Can Do”. The characters that Shelly created are real and their themes seem to help others who are struggling to do the same. Including have a wonderful pies named after their mood or feelings. WAITRESS and the wonderful pies are not for everyone, they might be a bit too much sugar for some of the darker themes this story hides. Infidelity and spousal abuse, and awkward love. The song “You Matter To Me” performed by the Doctor and Jenna says it all. The two and half hour show at JOE'S PIE DINER is brimming with terrific acting, beautiful music and design, with eye catching pies, and yummy crusts smiling with “Flour, Eggs and Sugar.”
WAITRESS is a perfect musical to begin your Holiday fall season at SHN. And yes, it can be an expensive night out. (not including a slice a pie you will be craving at shows end) SHN offers some great deals, including $40.00 cash only rush seats that go on sale two hours before curtain time only at the box office. At Todaytix.com you can purchase 40.00 seats beginning at 9 am day of show. SHN announced that single tickets for HAMILTON are now on sale for February 2019, the prices have dropped a bit; follow the web link below. But in the meantime head to sixth and Market street and grab a seat at JOE'S PIE DINER and the wonderful songs of Sara Bareilles.
Music by Sara Bareilles and Book by Jessie Nelson
Directed by Diane Paulus
Music Director Nadia DiGiallordo
Must close November 11th
Golden Gate Theatre,
1 Taylor St., San Francisco
Tickets: 888-746-1799, www.shnsf.com
Running Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Tickets at https://www.shnsf.com/Online/default.asp
TICKETS FOR HAMILTON NOW ON SALE AT;
WAITRESS CAST includes Lenne Klingaman as Dawn with Bryan Fenkart (Memphis) as Dr. Pomatter, Nick Bailey (“Red Oaks”) as Earl and Ryan G. Dunkin (“Bull”) as Cal. Along with Broadway cast alum Charity Angél Dawson (Waitress, Side Show) as Becky, Larry Marshall (Helen Hayes and Jeff Award nominee for Pullman Porter Blues, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Joe and Jeremy Morse (Waitress) as Ogie. The ensemble includes Mark Christine, Rheaume Crenshaw, Jim Hogan, David Hughey, Emily Koch, Max Kumangai, Tatiana Lofton, Gerianne Pérez, Brad Standley, Grace Stockdale and Alex Tripp. Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this features 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 Liaisons Dangereuses, Waiting for Godot) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland).
VISIT THE BACK STAGE BAKERY WERE 37 PIES NEED TO BE BACKED
DIRECTOR DIANE PAULUS TALKS ABOUT WAITRESS THE MUSICAL
BEHIND THE SCENES OF WAITRESS