By Katelynn McWhorter
With music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, the opening song to Waitress has you already begging for more. With an enticing story line, the actors portray their characters perfectly. They successfully moved the storyline forward by infusing their own personalities and perfecting their portrayal of the characters.
Jenna is a woman whose personality shows through with the names of the pies she creates, and whose background is the whole reason behind the story. In her role as Jenna, Desi Oakley lets her passion for the stage shine through with each line and truly makes Jenna the best of show. Oakley has starred in many other Broadway performances, including Wicked, Les Misérables, and Annie.
Charity Angél Dawson’s Becky is a character with sass, excitement, and overall enthusiasm for her own personality. Becky is not afraid to show her stuff and tell someone off if need be. Dawson, who originally starred as Nurse Norma in the Cambridge performances of Waitress, definitely knows her new character well and shows a great interpretation of the character.
Jeremy Morse stole the show with his character, Ogie, who was by far the most energetic part of the production. Even though Obie is on stage for only a few short moments to sing the song, “Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” to Lenne Klingaman’s Dawn, Morse easily projects his character’s energy and enthusiasm.
Middle Tennessee’s own Eleanor “Ellie” James, made her debut as Jenna’s daughter, Lulu, on opening night. She was easily the most adorable part of the show. She shares the role with another Tennessee resident, Olivia James Graves. Both girls are new to the stage and were selected during an audition process held by Tennessee Performing Arts Center in March.
There is one character one loves to hate. Earl, played by Nick Bailey, is the epitome of the bad husband. Nick’s character, married to the main character Jenna, is harsh towards her. In the end, Jenna does something astounding to rid herself of the awful conditions she had been living in for so long. Nick portrays the character in the best way for a character who would end up being hated by many.
Waitress is an astounding show that captivates the attention of the audience. Theatergoers were laughing to the point of tears at jokes that were followed by more hysterical scenes and innuendo. The deeper story about affairs and marriage is affecting, but kept light by the humor. Waitress is a #sugarbutterflour delight that entices the audience with every plot twist, laugh, and gasp of astonishment.
TPAC is giving fans an opportunity to win a pie book and measuring spoons. Stop by the Waitress Pie stand in the lobby, take a photo, and upload it to social media with the hashtag #WaitressinNash to be entered to win. Be sure to pick up a Goo Goo Cluster Pie Jar to enjoy during the show as well.
Waitress is appearing at TPAC through June 10 and $25 Rush tickets are available for select shows. For more information, visit @TennesseePAC on FB. Tickets are available online at www.tpac.com, by phone at 615.782.4040, or at the TPAC box office at 505 Deaderick Street in Nashville.