Waitress, the hit Broadway musical that played more than 1,500 performances during its 2016-2020 run, will return for a limited, four-month engagement this September, with composer Sara Bareilles in the lead role, producers announced today.
Bareilles will star as the pie-making Jenna Hunterson when the show begins performances Sept. 2 at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre, continuing in the role through Oct. 17. Waitress, produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, will then continue through Jan. 9, 2022. Her replacement for the remainder of the run, as well as additional cast, was not announced.
“I couldn’t miss the opportunity to be there when Broadway welcomes audiences back into theaters that have been sitting dark for over a year,” Bareilles said in a statement. “It is a gift to get to revisit the beautiful story of Waitress, centered around hope, resilience, and the support of our chosen family. It’s so special to be able to celebrate those same qualities at this moment in time within our theater family.”
Bareilles added that, like “so many people all over the world,” the Broadway community “has endured great loss and tremendous hardship, and we are all changed. But with this change comes powerful motivation to bring what we have learned and experienced this past year to make something even more beautiful and more intentional. Broadway is grit and grace, magic and mayhem, and I can’t wait to feel the electricity that pulses through all of us as the curtains rise once again.”
The Weisslers called Waitress “a prime example of resilience, in the same way that New Yorkers and all Americans have grown over that last year.” Broadway, they continued, “is returning as the engine that drives New York City’s recovery, drawing audiences from around the world to be wowed, to celebrate, to cry and to laugh again.”
Barry Weissler suggested in a May 5 Wall Street Journal interview that the musical would return post-Covid, but provided few details.
The musical is based on Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film of the same name, and with its debut in 2016 became the first Broadway musical ever to have four women in the four top creative team spots, with a book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Diane Paulus. The musical, originally starring Jessie Mueller in the title role, recouped its $12 million production investment in less than 10 months, one of only two new musicals – the other being Hamilton – from the 2015-2016 Broadway season that went into profit that year.
In addition to the Broadway production, new international productions are in the works, including a UK tour. Waitress is produced on Broadway by Barry and Fran Weissler and Norton and Elayne Herrick.
Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna fights to reclaim a long-forgotten part of herself.