Disclaimer: I received tickets to WAITRESS as an opportunity through the Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz Center for the purpose of this delicious review. The tasty opinions sliced up and shared are my own.
Besides being essential ingredients for the perfect pie crust, these three simple words also represent the perfect ingredients for a beautifully designed musical. The hypnotic melody played over and over throughout WAITRESS and the lyrics lingered in my mind days after the show like a gooey dessert clings to the roof of your mouth.
Like a trance, the lyrics lead us into “What’s Inside” the mind of Jenna, a waitress and proficient pie baker at a modest diner in a small southern town. Jenna dreams of escaping her miserable life for a slice of something better and the pies she creates fold in all her fantasies.
The lyrics and music by five-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles beautifully illustrates Jenna’s life and exemplifies Bareilles at her best; upbeat fun tempos and lyrics that feed your soul.
Honestly, there is so much freshly baked goodness to WAITRESS, starting with endearing characters that will warm your heart and vocal talents that are simply the cherry on top. The cast delivers powerful vocals that rise through Morsani Hall like piping hot steam with an enticing bouquet.
Desi Oakley (Jenna) delivers this soft-spoken southern flare that swells into a magnificent masterpiece—much like Jenna’s pies. Adding Charity Angel Dawson and Lenne Klingaman into the mix creates a rich harmony and even standing alone, Oakley, Dawson and Klingman offer savory solos. These three incredibly talented ladies deliver a simply succulent ensemble.
The ever changing scenery shifts, rolls and slides with such grace. With so much chaos happening in Jenna’s modest humdrum world, the fast-paced rotating scene changes reflect Jenna’s whirlwind world and help keep the audience up to speed. From Joe’s Diner to Dr. Pomatter’s office, we spin through Jenna’s rollercoaster miserable existence longing for her to break free.
Most importantly, WAITRESS serves delicious pies with a side of warm love. Love between friends, love between lovers and the instant unconditional love a mother feels for a child. For Jenna, her destiny becomes crystal clear upon the birth of her daughter. She finds the strength and courage she needs to be a better woman, a bittersweet moment that the audience embraces with cheers and exploding applause.