What's that faint aroma in the air on Broadway? Could it be…dare we hope…pie?
Pie it is. Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson's 2016 musical Waitress, adapted from Adrienne Shelly's 2007 indie film about a talented baker who can't find a recipe for happiness, ran for a robust four years on Broadway before ringing down the curtain in January last year. Now, in a happy surprise, the show is returning to the boards to offer audiences a second slice: a limited run from September through January, with Bareilles herself in the lead role of Jenna for the first seven weeks.
Before making her debut as a Broadway composer, Bareilles was known as the accomplished singer and songwriter of pop hits including "Love Song," "Brave" and "Gravity." With Waitress, she showed a strong talent for musical theater as well; the climactic song of her Tony-nominated score, "She Used To Be Mine," leaped straight into the songbook of modern Broadway classics. And when original star Jessie Mueller left the production, Bareilles stepped into the show herself in three different stints over the course of the show's run. We interviewed her back in 2017 about going into the show for the first time.
With the obvious exception of all the shows that were placed in limbo by COVID last year, it is rare for a closed show to return to Broadway so soon. (Touring productions of Dreamgirls and Hair did it in 1987 and 2011, respectively.) But Bareilles is a well-loved figure in Broadway circles—she cohosted the Tony Awards in 2018—and Waitress might be just the thing for audiences starved for musical-theater comfort food. "Fresh and delicious, Waitress has an excellent ratio of sweet to tart," wrote David Cote in his Time Out review. "The whole dish is—please forgive me—love at first bite."
Waitress is scheduled to play at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre from September 2 through January 9, 2022. Aside from Bareilles, who will front the production through October 17, the cast has not yet been announced. Tickets are on sale now.