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By Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal
Special to The Village News 

It's All About the Pie


Last updated 11/30/2018 at 5:21pm

“Waitress” is a rollicking good time. It is as fresh as Jenna’s Polka Dot Peach pie. Which by the way, is old Joe’s favorite.

Or maybe even better would be her “Pursuit of Happiness” pie. Well, maybe just a slice would do the trick. Possibly then, the world would straighten itself out.

Based on the film by Adrienne Shelly, the story is one of the best new musicals. Jessie Nelson wrote the book and Sara Bareilles the music and lyrics. Yes, that Sara Bareilles. The same one who wrote “Gravity” and “Brave”. No wonder the music sparkles like the North Star.

The story develops at a lightning pace. Going from sweet, to tart, to menacing and then to fall-down hilarious. “Waitress” is as much fun as Christmas morning!

Some of the outrageous silliness is attributed to Ogie (Jeremy Morse) pronounced “Oh-G”. He is like no other character seen before, his time at the diner is well spent. Morse owns this part. He owned it on Broadway and certainly in San Diego. His character is pure unadulterated genius.

“Waitress” is about Jenna (Christine Dwyer) who makes pies. Oh, not just any pies, but simply delicious, over-the-top outrageously delicious concoctions blending fruit, chocolate, and whipped cream with a cherry on top with unique names such as “Lonely Chicago Pie”. Cast for her voice and splendid characterization, Dwyer owns her role.

One coworker, gal-pal at the diner is Becky (Maiesha McQueen). McQueen displays that marvelous sassy, swagger from the deep south in her amazing vocals. Plus, she displays her irreverence for propriety when she says, “what kind of man divorces his wife just because she gay?”

The other is Dawn (Jessi Shelton) as the awkward, goof-ball waitress who searches online for a better life. She really shines when partnering with Ogie in “I Love You Like a Table.”

The roadside diner is owned by Cal (Ryan G. Dunkin). He has impeccable comedic timing with just enough attitude suggesting not only is he the big guy in-charge, but he’ll take no guff from anyone.

Joe (Larry Marshall) visits the diner for lunch every day and often favors a piece of Jenna’s pie before his meal. He really shines while dancing with his favorite waitress singing “Take It From an Old Man.”

For those familiar with the film, Jenna’s husband is mean. The physical extremes are not manifested on stage although his menacing presence causes perceptible vibrations from the sympathetic audience.

As Earl, Matt DeAngelis is really the best bad guy ever seen in a musical. His behavior is haunting.

Continuing along the movie story line, we all discover Jenna’s new family doctor, Dr. Pomatter (Steven Good). Or as every woman in the theatre remembers him, Dr. McDreamy. He has a certain athletic flexibility that makes him all the dreamier and a bit scandalous with just enough restraint to cause one’s heart to flutter. A delightful performance and one not to be missed.

Finally, there is Lulu played by either Kensley Clare or Sloane Geneva Viora. Now the only thing to say about a five-year-old little girl is “she is so cute”.

A large ensemble rounds out the cast along next to the band which stays on stage throughout. The creative team behind this monumental effort sports many of the top names in theater and is one of the reasons to go see this show. Read the program. Their credits are to extensive to repeat.

Opening its 42nd season with this musical masterpiece, “Waitress” kicks off what promises to be another fulfilling line up for Broadway San Diego. General Manager Vanessa Davis and her team of pros are bringing the best of Broadway in this coming year.

Season tickets are still available or pick and chose from this line up: “Hello Dolly”, “Disney’s Aladdin,” “Cats,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Miss Saigon” and back by popular demand “Book of Mormon” coming in July.

Box office: (619) 570-1100 or Prepaid parking can be purchased from the Broadway San Diego website for only $8 for the Wells Fargo Bank lot at 4th & B streets - otherwise it costs $10 at the parking garage. More general parking is nearby when arriving early for about $20.

Try to see this one-of-a-kind show. “Waitress” is only playing through Dec. 2 at the Civic Center at 3rd at B Streets. Rated 10 out of 10.

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