A review of Waitress: the musical
When I was around six years old, I came downstairs and my mom was watching a movie. I decided to sit down and watch it with her, as it was about a girl making pies and I really liked pie. Little did I know, years later, it would become one of my favorite movies, and a musical on Broadway. The name of the story is Waitress.
The story follows a main character, Jenna, who works at a pie diner. She is a waitress in the south with her two friends, Becky and Dawn. Also, she is trying to escape a horrible marriage while dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. I loved the movie for its honest depiction of the calamities of being in an abusive relationship and for the humor that was successfully weaved into the story.
I was so excited to hear that the musical was in Columbus and bought tickets to the show that took place the afternoon of November 11th. As I walked into the theater, the first thing I realized was that the audience was mostly female. The few men that did attend were generally older. Also, throughout the show, the audience was engaged with the story, as the crowd was very responsive to the humor. As for the musical itself, the most impressive aspect for me was how true it was to the movie. With the exception of cheerful songs that made you want to get up and dance, the script was almost identical to the 2007 film. I also thought that the songs fit very well into the storyline and made sense with what was happening. I found myself giggling along with the other members of the audience on multiple occasions.
Two of the best things about the musical were the slick transitions and the diverse personalities of the characters. The transition from one scene to another was executed in very clever ways that didn’t distract from the story. Each transition was smooth and did not feel forced. Along with the successful transitions, each character felt original and added something new to the story. My two favorite characters were Ogie, whose honest declaration of his love for Dawn is one I know I will not forget for quite some time, and Nurse Norma who appeared at the most unfortunate times and always said the perfect thing to make the circumstance so much more awkward.
Though the humor in the musical was impeccable, there were sincere and genuine scenes that drove the audience to empathize with the characters. Each time Jenna would make up a new pie in her head to distract herself from the reality of her life, you could practically feel the shared sadness between her and the audience.
I must address Joe, who owned the diner Jenna worked at. Joe seemed to be a grumpy old man who bossed everyone around. When he found out about Jenna’s situation he began to open up and show a different side of himself. I think Joe was the most important character in the story because he simply believed Jenna could make a new life for herself and gave her the means to do it. Having someone believe in her without any doubt is just what Jenna needed, and Joe ended up being that person for her.
While the funny scenes definitely made the story a little bit sweeter, ultimately, in my opinion, the best parts of the musical were not the ones that made you laugh, but the ones that made you feel something deeper.