We saw Waitress last night. We almost missed it, twice. The day before the show I checked our master spreadsheet, not for the Fox, but for the Rep. No Rep shows were imminent, but the Fox show was. The other near miss had to deal with the show’s start time, which was 7:30, not eight. We only realized this oversight almost too late. We drove through the rain, which took longer than normal. Late already, we had to park further away than we normally do, but in the end, we made it to the show on time or rather the show started five minutes late. Maybe to accommodate us?
Waitress is a new musical, at least to us. Much of this season’s shows at the Fox, have been either revivals or other shows that we have seen before. This newness lent the play an added freshness. Jenna, the protagonist, is a hardworking women. She is holding down two jobs. She holds her titular job as a waitress in Joe’s dinner, but she also makes all of the pies that are also featured in neon above. It is this second job that holds the most interest. The chorus “Sugar. Butter. Flour.” is a refrain that echoes throughout this musical.
Everyday, Jenna plunges two hands and much creativity into a mixing bowl. Her pies are delicious, are also creatively named and often echo major plot points. With a bun, she has more than just pies in the oven. She is pregnant and her husband is an abusive louse. Cue the blue plate special, “I don’t want Earl’s baby pie”, an egg quiche with brie and a smoked ham center. Or, “Baby screaming it’s head off in the middle of the night and ruining my life pie”, a New York style cheesecake, brandy brushed, topped with pecans and nutmeg.
Her unplanned pregnancy is further complicated when she discovers on her first prenatal appointment that the kindly female gynecologist, the woman who delivered her, has retired. Replacing her is a hunky young male doctor, “from Connecticut.” As if she doesn’t have enough problems, an illicit love affair immediately ensues. She makes “Earl murders me because I’m having an affair pie.” Made by smashing blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.
This is followed by, “I can’t have and affair because it’s wrong and I don’t want Earl to kill me pie.” This is a vanilla custard with banana. “Hold the banana…”
In addition to the men in her life, the cast includes Jenna’s backup singers, the two other waitresses at the diner. Each of which has their own side story. The most entertaining of the two is Dawn, who meets the love of her life online. She is initially put off by him, she is soon smitten when she learns that they share a mutual interest in Revolutionary War reenactment. She as Betsy Ross and he as Paul Revere, “One if by land, two if by sea…” — Two people reenacting Paul Revere’s ride together.