Waitress BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • HR

Opening Night:
April 24, 2016
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater: Brooks Atkinson / 256 West 47th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Based on the 2007 film by the late Adrienne Shelly, "Waitress" follows Jenna, a pregnant waitress in the south trapped in an abusive marriage and looking for a happy ending. She finds relief—and potentially that happy ending—by making creatively titled pies and forming a romance with an unlikely newcomer.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Waitress

    Jessie Mueller Serves a Slice of Life (With Pie) in Sara Bareilles’s ‘Waitress’

    Charles Isherwood

    April 24, 2016: “Sugar. Butter. Flour.” The words are crooned like a lullaby intermittently throughout the musical “Waitress,” bringing a warm blanket of comfort to the troubled central character, stuck in an unhappy marriage and essentially working two jobs, baking pies for the diner where she also puts on an apron to wait tables. In Jessie Mueller, who plays Jenna, that hard-working waitress, this agreeable if unexceptional musical, which opened on Sunday at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, has the kind of vital ingredient any show would benefit from. Ms. Mueller, who won a Tony for her performance in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” possesses a rich, soulful and emotionally translucent voice, and an ability to bring heaping cupfuls of subtext to her acting. But as with the unremarkable jukebox musical that brought her Broadway stardom, Ms. Mueller’s talent often outstrips the material she’s given here. So, incidentally, do the gifts of her supporting cast, who provide brightly colored, vibrantly sung performances. Much of the score, by the pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, is appealing, drawing on the sounds of country music reflecting the Southern setting, but also containing more traditional Broadway-pop balladry. But the book by Jessie Nelson, based on the movie written and directed by (and co-starring) Adrienne Shelly, tends to flatten most of the characters into comic cartoons. (To be fair, they do not have much more depth in the movie, from which some of the musical’s dialogue is borrowed.)

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Waitress

    'Waitress' Theater review

    David Cote

    April 24, 2016: One’s sorely tempted to praise the delightful new musical "Waitress" using lots of bakery metaphors. After all, its hero is a pastry genius with relationship woes named Jenna (Jessie Mueller). She’s a perky Southern gal who can confect a mouthwatering Mermaid Marshamallow Pie but can’t measure the right ingredients for happiness. So, unable to resist, here I go: Fresh and delicious, Waitress has an excellent ratio of sweet to tart; supporting characters who provide crustiness (Dakin Matthews’s grumbly store owner) and flakiness (Christopher Fitzgerald’s loony admirer of another waitress); and cooked-to-perfection staging by Diane Paulus. The whole dish is—please forgive me—love at first bite.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Waitress

    Sara Barreilles’ Musical ‘Waitress’ Serves A Bittersweet Dish With Warmth And Humor

    Jeremy Gerard

    April 24, 2016: I don’t think anyone, hearing that lyric from "Waitress," could escape feeling a rush of sadness and exhilaration. Sadness at the line’s multiple meanings; exhilaration in the velvet, heartfelt beauty Jessie Mueller imbues “She Used To Be Mine” with, in the breath-bating 11 o’clock number from this gem of a show. "Waitress" is the rare musical adaptation that’s as much of a sweetheart as its source, Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 independent film. I’ve cheated here a bit by attaching a video of the song as it’s sung by its composer/lyricist Sara Bareilles, here making her Broadway debut in collaboration with book writer Jessie Nelson (who produced "Stepmom" and "The Story of Us," and produced "Danny Collins"). But you’ll get a good sense not only of the number’s stand-alone power, but of its centrality to the story Waitress tells. Many a pop song writer has attempted this duality, but few achieve it; pop songs tend to be self-contained while theater songs need to reveal character and move the action forward.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Waitress

    'Waitress’ The Musical

    Marilyn Stasio

    April 24, 2016: “Waitress” owes its sweetness to the mouth-watering goodness of Jessie Mueller. As a diner waitress named Jenna, Mueller is such a honey bun, she melts us like the mounds of butter that make Jenna’s homemade pies so luscious. The musical resorts to comic overkill to create characters based on Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 indie rom-com. But Sara Bareilles has written a charming score that suits the quirky material and Mueller’s dazzling voice and endearing personality. “Beautiful” was no fluke. Mueller can really act as well as sing her heart out. She’s enchanting as Jenna, who is stuck in a miserable marriage and working as a waitress in a smalltown diner (Scott Pask executed the sunny design of this 1950s throwback) somewhere down south. In the sweet opening number (“What’s Inside”), Jenna leads the company in illustrating how she bakes her pies — which are loaded with sugar, as well as creative ingredients like bacon and blueberry — and names them for how she’s feeling that day. In “What Baking Can Do,” she goes deeper and reveals how creating new pies helps her get through her unhappy life.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Waitress

    Tony winner Jessie Mueller plays an unhappily married diner server pouring love into her pies in this musical based on the 2007 indie hit

    David Rooney

    April 24, 2016: Jessie Mueller won a lead actress Tony Award two years ago playing the title role in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. So it's fitting that her return to Broadway, with perhaps an even more transcendent performance, should be in Waitress, the thoroughly charming musical theater debut of composer-lyricist Sara Bareilles, a descendent from the same line of emotionally empowering singer-songwriters of which King is now a doyenne. "Sugar" is the first word in the show, and this adaptation of the 2007 indie film about a Deep South diner server who dreams of baking herself a better life doesn't stint on sweetness. But that's all to the good in a deep dish of feelgood feminist comfort food. Rich in themes of mother-daughter legacies, female friendship forged in the workplace, emancipation from conjugal tyranny and the therapeutic powers of baking, the show was adapted by Bareilles and filmmaker Jessie Nelson, herself a former waitress, from the 2007 indie film of the same name that starred Keri Russell. The movie was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered less than three months before its premiere at Sundance, where it was acquired by Fox Searchlight and became a modest sleeper hit, grossing $21.2 million worldwide.

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