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On Stage: 'Waitress' Is About Breaking Free

Nothing says spring is on the way like a musical, and Waitress is a musical that is all about growth and change. 

The story is based on the film of the same title, written by Adrienne Shelly. The stage adaptation features an all-female team of artists, including screenwriter Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus, and original score, music and lyrics, by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Originally, in 2013, producers Barry and Fran Weissler had announced Paula Vogel was attached as book writer for the musical, but in January 2014, Vogel withdrew from the project and was replaced with Jessie Nelson. The original production debuted at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2015; Waitress arrived on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 2016.

The plot centers on Jenna, a small-town waitress, pie-making genius, and abused wife. Jenna dreams of a better life for herself and her unborn child, and when she finds out about a baking competition in the next county, she faces the possibility of all of her dreams coming true, if she can only work up the courage to take her chance at the grand prize. 

The musical was written for a six-member orchestra, including cello, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and keyboard. Because of the adult content, parents are advised the material might not be appropriate for children under 13. The show has a 2-hour and 45-minute running time, including a 15-minute intermission. Waitress is onstage at Century II from March 3 to March 5.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.