As a new decade rolled around, the musical scene was a tourist trap full of revivals and show-stopping hit versions of well known stories such as The Addams Family and Matilda. Elsewhere new writers explored previously controversial topics such as how women are treated by men in Waitress, and religious beliefs in Book of Mormon. Jukebox musicals continued to grow in popularity as shows based on the music of Dolly Parton and Carol King delighted audiences on both sides of the pond. However, the biggest musical hit of the decade without a doubt was Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, founding father of the USA, which reignited excitement for the musical with queues of fans gagging to get a ticket.
THE SHOW & SHOW HISTORY
Based on the 2007 film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and pie maker, at Joe’s Diner. Stuck in a small town in a loveless marriage, Jenna escapes the world by baking up eccentric pie fillings for customers. When unexpectedly she falls pregnant after a drunken night with her abusive husband, she begins an affair with Dr Pomatter, the doctor who is assigned to her during her pregnancy. Stuck in what seems an impossible situation, Jenna begins a journey to discover herself again by entering a pie contest to create a new life for herself and her new baby.
Written by American singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and produced by an all female creative team, the show premiered at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway in April 2016. Since then, it has continued to warm the hearts of audiences with its story of love and baking on Broadway and on tour in the USA. It was announced earlier in the year that Waitress is coming to the West End in 2019 so I can’t wait to see it for myself!
WHY I HEART IT
I first heard about Waitress when I was looking for new material and came across one of Sara Bareilles' songs from the show, 'What Baking Can Do' all about how baking can change your life. I instantly fell in love with a musical based on baking as it is one of my other major passions and the story that you can change your life however impossible it seems. Jenna is a very strong role model to inspire women who are trapped in what seem unchangeable situations, which is why it has hit a chord with audiences throughout the world.
SONG IN CONTEXT
‘What Baking Can Do' is sung by Jenna when she has just discovered that she is pregnant with her husband's baby, despite the fact that they are stuck in a loveless marriage. At work at the diner, she furiously bakes her worries away into her strange pie concoctions which give her solace from her current situation. As she bakes, Jenna remembers the time she spent with her mother, who was in a similar situation trapped in an unhappy marriage, and escaped her troubles through baking with her.
Music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Book by Jessie Nelson
Based on 2007 movie, Waitress
Premiered at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway,
24th April 2016
My Favourite Cast (Original Broadway Cast)
Jenna Hunterson : Jessie Mueller
Dr Jim Pomatter : Drew Gehling
Earl Hunterson : Nick Cordero
Becky : Keala Settle
Dawn Williams : Kimiko Glenn
Joe/Josie : Dakin Matthews
Ogie Anhorn : Christopher Fitzgerald
Cal : Eric Anderson
Nurse Norma : Charity Angel Dawson
Lulu : Claire Keane/McKenna Keane
Music & lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on 1991 movie, Dogfight
Premiered at the Second Stage Theatre on Off-Broadway,
July 16th 2012
My Favourite Cast (Original Off-Broadway Cast)
Rose Fenny : Lindsay Mendez
Eddie Birdlace : Derek Klena
Boland : Josh Segarra
Bernstein : Nick Blaemire
Marcy : Annaleigh Ashford
Stevens : Adam Halpin
Fector : F. Michael Haynie
Gibbs : Steven Booth
Mama : Becca Ayers
Ruth Two Bears : Dierdre Friel
Lounge Singer : James Moye
THE SHOW & SHOW HISTORY
Set in 1963, and based on the 1991 film, Dogfight tells the story of three young marines who are after a last night of fun before they are posted to Vietnam to fight. They decide to go to a "dogfight" - a party where Marines compete to bring the ugliest date without the girls they choose knowing - to gamble and make some money. The plan made, one of the marines, Eddie Birdlace heads to a diner and finds Rose Fenny, a shy waitress playing the guitar. He invites her to the party and after resisting, she gives in and is made to look a fool at the party. But the deception brings the two together changing both their perspectives on life - Eddie discovering compassion for Rose and Rose finding a world beyond her small life in San Francisco.
Written by musical duo, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the show deals with issues surrounding the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It first opened at the Second Stage Theatre, Off Broadway in June 2012 and has gone on to be performed in London, Sydney and beyond, as audiences engage with the story of the difference between military and civilian life.
WHY I HEART IT
I came across 'Dogfight' when I saw videos of the cast recording party on YouTube. I was so amazed by the melodies in the song and the performances of Derek Klena and Lindsay Mendez that I looked into and found the cast recording which gave me an insight into 1960s USA that I hadn't known before. I love the variety of different styles of songs and how Eddie and Rose change each other's lives after a bad experience.
SONG IN CONTEXT
Rose sings 'Before It's Over' at the end of the show when her eyes have been opened to the world beyond her small life in San Francisco. Although she has had a bad experience with the 'dogfight,' Eddie shows her that she is more than the shy girl she thinks she is and her life can now be an exciting, and open adventure that she couldn't see before. It shows her change of perspective that has happened through the show and how she has decided to do what she wants not what she has to do.