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5 reasons why we're excited about Waitress in the West End

The Broadway hit is making its way to these shores, but what's all the fuss about?

The original Broadway production of Waitress
© Joan Marcus

Broadway musical Waitress is heading to these shores, with tickets going on sale for the 2019 West End run today. It's been much heralded stateside, having opened originally at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2015 before arriving in New York in 2016. The show is based on a 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly, which tells of Jenna Hunterson, a waitress with an abusive husband and a gift for baking. Here's five reasons why it's a hot ticket.



They use real pies

Way to make a stomach rumble. On Broadway, real pies were warmed in the theatre, so that when the audience arrived there was a satisfyingly alluring smell of freshly baked goods and that's coming over to London with the show . Now that's the sort of tantalising smell we hunger after. In fact in New York, the whole cast were taught by a local baker how to roll pie dough, because there's quite a lot of onstage baking. Lead character Jenna Hunterson – originally played in New York by Jessie Mueller – has to crack eggs, sift flour and roll out dough whilst doing all that singing and acting. It could get messy.


The songs are by Sara Bareilles

She may not be a household name over here, but Sara Bareilles is well known in the world of pop music in the US. She was named one of the top 100 greatest women in music in 2012 and has earned six Grammy Award nominations over her career. Her hit single "Love Song" made it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2007 and she was also a judge on The Sing Off (like The X-Factor but for a cappella groups) alongside Ben Folds. She knows how to write a tune, therefore, and the songs in Waitress are infinitely hummable. Keep an eye on WhatsOnStage this afternoon for a chance to hear a song or two.


The original Broadway production of Waitress
© Joan Marcus

It's a show led by women

The four top creative people working on this musical are women. That is song writer Sara Bareilles, book writer Jessie Nelson, choreographer Lorin Latarro and Diane Paulus, the director. Plus the costume designer and musical director for the Broadway run were also women. In this male-dominated industry, that's definitely something to be celebrated. And let's not forget, of course, that it's about a woman too.


It's a story that focuses on real people dealing with real things

No superheroes, no high-flying bankers, no presidents, no kings and queens. Waitress is about a young woman working in a diner in America who is struggling with all the mucky trauma and heartbreak of the everyday. Jenna's abusive husband Earl makes her life a misery and life is complicated further when she finds herself pregnant. It's full of real people. Which makes a nice change.


It's an emotional roller coaster

Though it may sound as though it's a fairly dark story, Waitress in fact is choc-full of highs as well as lows. It will make you laugh, your heart soar and it should make you cry, too. There's the full gamut of emotions in there, people, and you'll come out of the theatre feeling like you've lived a whole life.

The original Broadway production of Waitress
© Joan Marcus
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