Sweet as Pie – ‘Waitress’ Makes a Spunky Girls Night Out

Rheaume Crenshaw, Christine Dwyer and Steven Good in the National Tour of Waitress, Photos by Philicia Endelman

Sweet and sassy with a side of spunk, Waitress is the perfect girls night out. This celebration of love, friendship, and second chances will delight and amuse you from beginning to end.

Based on the 2007 movie written by Adrienne Shelley, Waitress is the story of talented baker Jenna, who mentally escapes from her abusive marriage to low-life Earl and her small town existence by baking delicious pies at Joe’s Pie Diner. She finds meaning in her work and in her friendships with fellow waitresses Becky and Dawn. The women all dream of a better life and meaningful relationships.

When Jenna discovers she’s pregnant, she’s devastated. The last thing she wants is to have Earl’s baby. Yet opportunity presents itself in unexpected ways. The chance to enter a pie baking contest and start a new life—coupled with a steamy love affair with her gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter– force Jenna to face her future head on.

Self-confidence and empowerment take center stage as Jenna rejects the status-quo and forges her own success story. Baby Lulu is her salvation and the impetus she needs to make a better life for herself and for her child. Jenna is capable of creating so much more than amazing pies; her uniquely-named culinary delights become her ticket to success and independence. Happy enough is not the happily-ever-after she deserves.

Christine Dwyer as Jenna in Waitress Credit Tim Trumble
Christine Dwyer as Jenna, Photo by Tim Trumble

Jenna (Christine Dwyer) is a vocal powerhouse you can’t help but fall in love with. Dwyer has toured the country performing in Wicked, Finding Neverland, Rent, and now Waitress. Theatergoers will be intrigued to know she’s actually engaged to her stage husband, Earl (Matt DeAngelis). DeAngelis is delightfully creepy as good-for-nothing Earl. In addition to Waitress, he’s appeared in Broadway productions of Hair, American Idiot, and Once as well as TV shows “Person of Interest,” “Madam Secretary,” and “Daredevil.”

Matt DeAngelis and Christine Dwyer in the National Tour of Waitress Credit Philicia Endelman
Matt DeAngelis and Christine Dwyer, Photo by Philicia Endelman

Fellow waitresses Becky (Maiesha McQueen) and Dawn (Ephie Aardema) are utterly outstanding. McQueen’s solo gave me chills (what a voice!) and one can’t help but root for their successes in love and life. The quirky romance between Dawn and Ogie (Jeremy Morse) was undoubtedly my favorite part of the musical. Morse’s comedic acrobatics and terrible magic tricks had the audience rollicking with laughter time and again.

Jessie Shelton, Christine Dwyer and Maiesha McQueen in the National Tour of Waitress Credit Philicia Endelman
Jessie Shelton, Christine Dwyer and Maiesha McQueen, Photo by Philicia Endelman

Charmingly awkward (and married) Dr. Pomatter (Steven Good) makes a fabulous love interest. You may recognize him from his appearances on “Nightmare Nurse,” “Notorious,” or “Hart of Dixie.” He’s also been in Broadway’s Escape to Margaritaville.

I also adored Cal (Ryan G. Dunkin) and grouchy but good-hearted Joe (Richard Kline). The musical ensemble added a lot to the performance as well. Waitress brings fabulous talent to Jacksonville. Quite charmingly, two local girls were cast to play young Lulu. Bailey Dorman of Orange Park (age 5) and Whitney Shillingford of San Marco (age 4) contribute a precious dose of cuteness to the musical’s finale. Lulu is locally cast in every tour market and two girls share the role through the week-long engagement. The girls did an amazing job!

Steven Good and Christine Dwyer in the tour of Waitress Credit Philicia Endelman
Steven Good and Christine Dwyer, Photo by Philicia Endelman

Uplifting, inspiring, and simply splendid throughout, Waitress makes the perfect girls night out or date night. It’s quirky and provocative, sometimes raunchy and belly-laugh hilarious. Leave the kids at home, as there’s language and plenty of suggestive material. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry. You’ll find yourself frustrated at times, and you’ll stand and cheer. You might even be inspired to dance and sing along.   

From fragrant baked pies in the lobby to a selfie-worthy pie backdrop on stage, the Times Union Center set the scene for a fabulous night on the town. The Tony-nominated musical created by an all-female creative team will delight Jaxons from March 12-17. If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, this is one musical you don’t want to miss. Waitress is a sweet slice of Broadway heaven you’re sure to love.  


About Jennifer Melville

Jennifer Melville is a contributing writer for EU Jacksonville, South Magazine, Folio Magazine, Green Prints, Focus on the Family, and various other print and online publications. She’s a military wife, mother of four, and a leader in the NE Florida homeschooling community. You can check out more of her work on her website, Azalea Publications or follow her on Twitter.