If you got a taste for a bittersweet romantic comedy, then you need a slice of Waitress in your life.
This theatrical treat mixes together the right amount of ingredients—humor, love and drama. Yearning for a night out on the town? Leave the kids at home and spend some time escaping to Joe’s Pie Diner in the American South.
Based on the 2007 indie film, Waitress features Jenna Hunterson, an unhappily married waitress who has a passion to invent and bake pies. When she discovers she is pregnant, Jenna makes a plan to leave her abusive husband, Earl, by looking into a pie contest and its grand prize, and she begins an affair with her gynecologist, Dr. Jim Pommater.
The musical is more than your typical love triangle story though. With music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles (known for hit singles like “Love Song” and “Brave“) and a book by Jessie Nelson, there’s a sense of female empowerment throughout the show thanks to the original all-female creative team. Jenna’s friends and fellow waitresses, Becky (Charity Angél Dawson) and Dawn (Lenne Klingaman) stand by her side as they try to find their own happiness in life too.
Desi Oakley is up to the challenge to wow the audience that watch in the same hometown of Jesse Mueller, who played the original role of Jenna on Broadway. Luckily, the show’s most popular rock-pop ballad, “She Used to Be Mine” still remained a show-stopper, along with Jenna’s duet with Dr. Pommater (Bryan Fenkart), “Bad Idea.” You can’t help but root for her throughout the show as she finds herself on a journey towards motherhood.
While certain themes of the show are quite serious, there’s no harm in bringing a bit more comedy to the mix. You’ll discover that a good small town story always has a handful of quirky characters. My personal favorite (and heard by others around me during intermission) was Ogie (Jeremy Morse), Dawn’s love interest. Even if their online dating match started rough, he manages to steal her heart (and the show) with a performance filled with eccentric humor. It’s a great reminder that love is out there for anyone.
All in all, the show is as sweet as pie. We recommended the show for ages 14 and up, so save a night for this show to go out with your gal pals or your significant other. If all the talk of sweets makes you hungry while watching, grab some mini-pies from Eli’s Cheesecake during intermission.
If you go
Through July 22
Tickets start at $27
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W Randolph St., Chicago