Waitress has already been a smash on Broadway. Based on the wonderful 2007 movie starring Kerri Washington, it has been given new life by beautiful, moving and smart music and lyrics by singer-songwriter Bareilles. Coincidentally she is best known internationally for her 2007 smash hit Love Song. Twelve years later and she stood on the London West End stage as the audience rose to their feet to celebrate a show by women, about women, but FOR everyone.
At the jubilant curtain call, Bareilles was joined on stage by writer Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus, choreographer Lorin Latarro and leading lady, American Idol star Katherine McPhee.
Bareilles told the cheering crowd: "What an extraordinary moment to stand here with this team. We just happen to be an all-female creative team which is the first time in Broadway history.
"It wasn’t a casting agenda it was a complete accident. It’s just to show what's possible when people put their heads together and we just get to be artists at the top of our fields coming together and we just happen to be women."
Waitress curtain call with Sarah Bareilles
McPhee echoed the sentiment of inclusion and universal storytelling: "Sarah tapped into something so beautiful with this show. She’s such a great storyteller. She’s also funny. What makes it so special, why I loved seeing it, is that it’s universal.
"A 25-year-old guy could get dragged in by his parents or girlfriend and be like, 'Ugh I don’t wanna see a girl show called Waitress,' but I’ve had so many 25 or 30-year-old guys come up to me after who were genuinely touched, moved and entertained."
The show tells the story of a waitress, down on her luck and in an abusive marriage, who discovers she is pregnant and must learn to believe in herself and to accept help from others. Mistakes are made, lessons are learned, all accompanied by the magical properties of a different pie for every situation.
Waitress deals with serious subjects and is more timely than ever as the MeToo movement sweeps across the Western World. But the show is ultimately joyous and life and love affirming.
Very much in keeping with the other new West End wonder, Come From Away, it is proof that audiences want and deserve more than just jukebox musicals.
Waitress tells an age-old story but gives it fresh meaning in an increasingly troubled modern world. Best of all it is beautifully done and it left this all-too-often jaded journalist smiling and humming as I wound my way home, with a sudden hankering for a big old slice of pie...
WAITRESS IS PLAYING NOW AT THE ADELPHI THEATRE: TICKETS AND MORE INFO HERE