Bringing all the charm of a small-town diner to Athens, the Tony Award-nominated musical “Waitress” is coming to the Classic Center on Monday, Jan. 20.
Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, the acclaimed musical features original music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. The musical made Broadway history by featuring only women in its top four creative roles: along with Bareilles, playwright Jessie Nelson, choreographer Lorin Latarro and director Diane Paulus rounded out the musical’s groundbreaking team.
The musical centers around Jenna, a waitress and piemaker, who yearns for a life beyond her small town and abusive husband. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she sees a pie-making contest as a way out. The show also focuses on the lives and relationships of her friends and fellow waitresses, Dawn and Becky, as well as a romantic interest.
“[It’s] a show about women who connect with each other—so that sisterhood. It’s a show about lifting each other up in hard times … It’s about women lifting up women,” said Gabriella Marzetta, an Illinois native who plays Dawn on the show’s national tour.
Marzetta notes the “absolute best part of the show” is the fact that Jenna’s story is about finding love within herself, motherhood and her child — a “beautiful” thing to have on a Broadway stage, Marzetta said.
Since the musical’s 2016 Broadway debut, Waitress has been performed at London’s West End, in the Philippines and Buenos Aires with a rotating cast. Shows in Australia and the Netherlands are planned for 2020. While the show ended its nearly four-year Broadway run on Jan. 5, 2020, its spirit lives on through a national tour slated to run until June 28, 2020.
For Marzetta, who first performed when she was 10 years old, the role of Dawn has been her dream role for the past five years. Marzetta said many people can connect to Dawn’s fear of being vulnerable in a relationship — a central theme in her character’s song, “When He Sees Me.”
“It’s amazing connecting with the fans, it’s amazing sharing this beautiful, powerful story about womanhood,” Marzetta said. “Because that’s what theater’s all about.”
Marzetta said another one of the play’s underlying messages, which focuses on the family one chooses, is both important and relevant for those unable to have a relationship with their biological families.
“The show starts with the girls at the diner and the show ends with the girls at the diner,” Marzetta said. “Family is everything and they are chosen family.”