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  • Don Ford

Don Reviews "Waitress: The Musical"

We have spoken on our show a few times about my over two decades in the food service industry. I have done everything from washing dishes to serving to host to bartending toy cooking. This is why one of my favorite movies about the industry is 2005’s “Waiting,” which is the most realistic view of working in a restaurant I have ever seen, as it is literally a lifestyle upon itself.

“Waitress” is the musical production adapted for the stage by Jessie Nelson from the film by Adrienne Shelly. Sara Bareilles wrote all of the original music for it, and playing at Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas through April 8th, it stars Desi Oakley as Jenna, Ryan G. Dunkin as Cal, Lenne Klingaman as Dawn, Charity Angel Dawson as Becky, Larry Marshall as Joe, Nick Bailey as Earl, Maiesha McQueen as Nurse Norma, Bryan Fenkart as Dr. Pomatter and Jeremy Morse as Ogie. It takes place in small town in the American South as Jenna, a waitress who is married to the inconsiderate Earl, finds out she is pregnant. She works with her two best friends in Dawn and Becky as well as her boss and head cook, Cal. When she starts to see Dr. Pomatter, new in town from Connecticut, they start to have feelings for each other and what follows is a story of marriage issues, affairs, friendship, financial issues.

The back wall of the stage is a country scene never changes, but with three main locations of the diner, Jenna and Earl’s house, and the doctors office, the transition of props was done effectively with really well done lighting. When it comes to the cast, I was truly impressed. Everyone in this cast does a wonderful job, and my shout outs would end up going to five or six cast members. Oakley does a wonderful job as Jenna, and the rest of the cast compliments each other so well.

The balance between the music and singing was also done well. Most of the cast has their own opportunities to shine, unlike other productions where a large chunk of the singing is done by two or three characters. The live band spends some time on stage, and there are even times where the band members were used and interacted in the production. When it comes to the storyline, I really enjoyed it, especially since this type of serious story is rare in the musical productions that I have seen as it is mixed with the right amount of comedic relief to help balance the weight. There are some adult situations in this production, so be warned. There was truly nothing in this production I did not like, and I will recommend this production as highest ticket price available.

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