Why Sara Bareilles’s Broadway Musical “Waitress” Deserves a Tony
The Tony nominations just came out, and while all eyes are on the musical Hamilton, another new show recently stole our hearts. Waitress, based on the 2007 film starring Keri Russell, opened on April 24 on Broadway. It tells the story of Jenna Hunterson, who deals with her troubles—an unhappy marriage, unwanted pregnancy, and conflicting feelings over a handsome doctor—by baking pies at a small-town diner.
Opening just four days before the Tony award nomination cut-offs, Waitress sneaked in to earn four nominations, including Best Musical.
Here’s why we’re rooting for Waitress this Tony season:
Sara Bareilles wrote the music…
Move over Andrew Lloyd Webber (you too, Lin Manuel Miranda), “Brave” singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles proves herself a gifted musical creator with Waitress’s tunes. They’re piano-heavy, melody-rich and dripping with harmonies—much like the silky songs that have made Bareilles so popular as a pop singer. Listen to her album What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress, to hear the singer’s renditions of the musical.
…And Jessie Mueller sounds as good as Sara Bareilles.
Close your eyes while watching Waitress and it’s easy to think that Bareilles is on stage playing Jenna Hunterson. The angelic voice comes from Jessie Mueller, however, who’s a Broadway star in her own right. Mueller won a Tony in 2014 for her portrayal of Carole King in the musical Beautiful. This year, she’s nominated again.
You’ll be charmed.
It is a story about a pie baker…in a diner…in a small town…in the South.
It’s the funniest show we’ve seen all year.
This story of unwanted pregnancy and loveless marriage is actually hilarious. An endearing cast of supporting characters in the diner keeps the audience laughing, as do the surprising pie names and slapstick choreography.
Kimiko Glenn is secretly a great singer.
Orange is the New Black actress Kimiko Glenn plays waitress Dawn, who over the course of the musical breaks out of her shell and embarks on a romance with an online suitor. Like fellow OINTB star Danielle Brooks, up for a Tony for her role in The Color Purple, Glenn is a surprisingly talented singer. So talented, in fact, that The Hollywood Reporter considered her lack of Tony nomination a major snub.
There’s real pie.
Mueller’s Hunterson has a penchant for naming her pies creatively (“Over the Moon Moon Pie and “Naughty Pumpkin Pie,” for example). Audience members get a taste of the masterpieces during intermission, when the theater sells “Apple of my Eye Pie,” “What’s the Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Cookies before the Cream Pie.”