“Waitress” musical to serve Stephens Auditorium on Thursday


Bailey McCall plays Jenna in “Waitress,” a musical detailing a young woman in the service industry and her quest for liberation. 

Lydia Wede

The cast of “Waitress” will be serving up pies and laughter Thursday at Stephens Auditorium.

“Waitress” is a Broadway musical that follows Jenna, a waitress, pie baker and mother, as she tries to escape her abusive marriage and start over. When she finds out she is pregnant, she turns to her gynecologist for help. To cope with her situation, Jenna bakes her emotions into her creatively named pies and enters a baking competition. Throughout the rest of the show, Jenna and her friends learn about love and friendship.

The company that will be bringing us “Waitress” travels to many other auditoriums throughout the country. While these actors and the crew are of Broadway-level caliber, it can be strenuous to constantly be on the road. Every stage is different from the last, so adjustments are constantly being made to the dance scenes, blocking and other theatrical aspects. Additionally, being on the move can be incredibly tiring, leading actors to take naps whenever possible. 

However, these demanding roles can lead to a stronger bond within the members of the company. Michael Douglass, an actor playing the role of Joe, describes the relationship of the cast as better than most he’s been a part of.

“You’re all in it together,” Douglass said. “You’re all fighting the same battle to make the show as good as possible.” 

The role of Joe is very personal for Douglass. Joe is the owner of the diner where Jenna works. He is often considered to be a cold-hearted character who grows to be a significant person of support for Jenna. Douglass uses his personal experiences to motivate his character.

“I have daughters around Jenna’s age, and I feel a real connection to that, especially being on the road away with them,” Douglass said. “It makes for a pretty strong connection that I think really shows.”

“Waitress” is considered appropriate for teens but not for young children due to the adult themes within the musical. One of the major plot points regards Jenna’s marriage and how the relationship becomes toxic. For younger audiences, this can be very shocking and confusing. Some scenes also show adultery and profane language. 

“It is funny, but there is a serious core to it that matters passionately to the people who wrote it,” Douglass said.

The writers of “Waitress” add to the appeal of the show. “Waitress” made history as the first Broadway musical with the four creative roles—writer, composer, director and choreographer—being women. This trend carries over to the touring cast as well. 

“I think it was pretty deliberate,” Douglass said. “That female point of view is unique to the musical.” 

For those interested in watching the musical “Waitress,” the curtains will open for only one performance at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stephens Auditorium. Tickets start at $50 each.