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"Much of the score is appealing. But the book tends to flatten most of the characters into comic cartoons...'Waitress' taps into its wellsprings of universal feeling with a slick surface professionalism rather than anything approaching real depth...It is when Mueller tears into the musical’s climactic number that her talents are most movingly harnessed...Suddenly, a pleasant and polished but weightless musical comedy rises to transporting heights, and sweeps up your heart along with it." Full Review
"From score to casting, book to staging, everything comes together with a deceiving ease. Jessie Mueller is the heart and soul of the show as Jenna. No wonder she takes so easily to Bareilles’ score: The songwriter’s piano-driven style combines storytelling and catchy melodies...The show is also better than the movie in how it creates a tightknit, affectionate community onstage." Full Review
"The cast and creative team behind 'Waitress' pulls off a rare feat: They give us a big, happy musical comedy that simultaneously manages to push the form in exciting ways. 'Waitress' is a definite winner...The earnest anxiety of the story is superbly conveyed through a score by singer-songwriter Bareilles...Her gorgeous lyrics move the plot forward while deepening the emotional world of the characters, bringing the best of a pop sensibility to musical theater." Full Review
"'Waitress' owes its sweetness to the mouth-watering goodness of Jessie Mueller...The musical resorts to comic overkill to create characters. But Sara Bareilles has written a charming score that suits the quirky material and Mueller’s dazzling voice and endearing personality...There are good things in the second act, which is more lyrical and less silly...Too bad it took so long to get here." Full Review
"Fresh and delicious, 'Waitress' has an excellent ratio of sweet to tart; supporting characters who provide crustiness and flakiness; and cooked-to-perfection staging. The whole dish is love at first bite...Jessie Nelson’s broadly comic yet brooding book meshes wonderfully with a frisky, bright score by pop star Sara Bareilles...For all its folksy one-liners and radio-friendly sound, 'Waitress' has a subversive, feminist side." Full Review
"Filled with prime ingredients, the evening is a tasty, satisfying, feel-good delight...Bareilles does a satisfactory job in her stage debut. Yes, there are a handful of numbers that entertain while not necessarily helping the musical along. Even so, the score is entertaining, likable, and supportive of the characters...Jessie Nelson takes the story and moves it along swiftly, landing big laughs along the way. Director Diane Paulus does an especially strong job." Full Review
"'Waitress' is clearly, passionately, and for the most part delightfully a feminist musical....'Waitress' can be an uncomfortable genre mix: domestic-violence drama and workplace romcom. That’s in the source material, and the musicalization exaggerates it. What I didn’t expect is that the musicalization could also help to justify the mismatch. As the story rushed toward its conclusion, I began to understand that for these characters, life itself is an uncomfortable genre mix." Full Review
"The resulting musical is both sweet and bitter and only sporadically satisfying...Under Diane Paulus’ direction, the show at times seems to struggle to fill the stage. The book, written by Jessie Nelson and based on the film script, is nicely witty. But the choreography seems an afterthought, and the songs, by Sara Bareilles, are tuneful, yet often strangely reticent, as though meant to be sung quietly to oneself rather than loudly before a crowd.” Full Review
"There are good reasons to savor 'Waitress,' the sweet and tart new musical confection about love and pie, deliciously performed...Diane Paulus directs with her usual verve, but, in keeping with the material, more down-home and laid-back than usual...Bareilles has written a score full of pleasing songs...The lyrics won’t make Sondheim jealous; the plot is both implausible and yet fairly predictable. But what 'Waitress' leaves us with is the affection evident among the characters." Full Review
"'Waitress' is a musical that will leave you verklempt because of Sara Bareilles’ sublime music, but seriously unsatisfied with the decision to over-stuff this story…To use the pie analogy, this team took sugar, butter, flour and added chocolate, cinnamon, lemons, ginger, molasses, minced meat and--you get the idea...On the plus side of everything is Jesse Mueller, whose skill at delivering a whole universe in a song is astonishing...I cannot wait to hear these songs again." Full Review
“Truth be told, Bareilles' music, marked by bouncy piano vamps and melodies that sometimes ache with longing, are generally better than her lyrics...Overall, this is a fairly auspicious debut...The trouble with ‘Waitress’ lies in the book, which is much broader and brassier than its source material, it gets carried away with its wacky secondary characters...It's a show best enjoyed in its more intimate moments; every time it adopts hard-sell tactics, much of its charm fades away.” Full Review
"Echoing a weakness in the original screen source, Paulus and Latarro could be criticized for overplaying the whimsy. But the material is anchored at every step by Bareilles' melodious pop score and Mueller's supremely natural performance as Jenna...The ballads are not Broadway-style songs in that they advance the plot, but they do something just as vital, which is to deepen our affection for the characters and our access to their inner lives." Full Review
"A tourist-trap rom-com that has little to offer but Ms. Mueller and her fine supporting cast...Everything that happens in 'Waitress' is as familiar as a cafeteria salad...Jessie Nelson’s book is full of holes...Ms. Bareilles has no notion of how to write for the stage. Her tunes are flat and unmemorably unhummable, and she shoves so many words into each stanza that none of them stand out...Ms. Mueller, on the other hand, is so good that you’ll actively resent the mediocrity of 'Waitress.'" Full Review
"It’s a tall order to combine romantic comedy with troubling depictions of spousal abuse...Nevertheless, the characters are authentic and surprising, and it ends with a heartwarming climax...Bareilles’ country-flavored, cute and quirky, introspective songs are nicely integrated into Jessie Nelson’s book...A few questionable choices stick out, like putting the band prominently onstage on a moving platform...Mueller looks browbeaten most of the time, but she has a warm aura and a stunning voice." Full Review
"Librettist Nelson, songwriter Bareilles, and director Paulus struggle mightily with such elemental theatrical-cooking concepts as ingredients, blending, and seasoning, resulting in a show that is unquestionably flavorless...Bareilles's songs aren't terrible, but they are terrible theatre music...Paulus's direction is fluid but watery, the choreography is at once energetic and listless, and the design looks drab and cheap." Full Review
"It is the warmth of the ensemble, the intimate harmonics of Sara Bareilles' music, the fluid fusion of Diane Paulus' staging and, above all, the flaky layers of vulnerability exposed by the show's golden star, Jessie Mueller, that matter most...Mueller's is a performance stripped of condescension, lived in the moment and rich in musical pleasures...Paulus and Latarro know when to use their ensemble and when to keep it in the booths and leave the stage to Mueller." Full Review
"The positives far outnumber the negatives...The score is a beaut. Bareilles covers the territory with ballads, beautiful choral numbers, big dance numbers and Jenna’s killer anthems. The cast is pleasingly diverse without shouting about it...'Waitress' is a feel-good show that’s no mere guilty pleasure. It’s got soul and heart, sweetness and crust all in fine measure." Full Review
“Confirms the Paulus flair for remaining true to her source, but adding the necessary ingredients to make it resonate as a crowd-pleasing musical...A most commendable Broadway debut for singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles...her ability to mix pop, country and R&B serve her well. Her lyrics for the most part display a genuine feel for supporting characters....'Waitress' is handsomely and inventively staged." Full Review
"From the first note sung of this beautiful new musical, we know we are in for a mystical and creative piece of musical deliciousness...It’s a beautiful piece of non-classic Broadway songwriting, that floats and swirls like an wonderful aroma. The harmonies and the melodies are just plain delectable...When that timer rang that this inventive pie of a show was done, I can only tell you how delicious it all was." Full Review
"'Waitress' is really very sweet. Sometimes, like the pies our beleaguered heroine bakes with such otherworldly finesse, such goodness can also get a bit cloying...The distinctions here include a rousing, comfort-food pop score by Sara Bareilles, the singer-songwriter in her confident Broadway composing debut, and the can’t-miss casting of Jessie Mueller...Diane Paulus is in her down-the-middle commercial mood. This new one is an old-fashioned, well-crafted production." Full Review
"A great recipe: Take terrific songs by Bareilles, mix them to a story by Nelson that isn't too sugary, bake that with intimate, understated direction by Paulus and top it off with a powerhouse performance by Mueller...Nelson's script sometimes drifts toward icky sweetness but always seems to quickly cut it with a dash of vinegar...If you're hungry for a heartfelt gooey musical with a molten star in the middle, order up a slice of 'Waitress'." Full Review
"Paulus’s direction and Nelson’s book never let us forget that Jenna is a victim...The result of all this is that the men’s behavior overwhelms the show...Harsh sound design turns 'Waitress' into the most over-amplified show on Broadway...Paulus has admirably directed a small-scale, low-tech show in every other respect...The imaginative visuals are at total odds with the obtrusive audio...Bareilles has written a couple of sweet duets. She’s good when she keeps it small. " Full Review
"Smartly, the right ingredients for a crowd-pleasing theatrical entertainment have been mixed here: Sara Bareilles’ catchy pop-theatrical score, Diane Paulus’ steady and relatively unshowy direction, and a first-rate cast led by the finest ingredient of them all: the amazing Jessie Mueller...Every conflict in Jenna’s life feels entirely real in Mueller’s expert hands...I suspect some viewers will be coming back for seconds." Full Review
“The show's problem is that this tale is rendered toothless by being told through the clichés of musical comedy, and with enough cuteness to put a litter of kittens to shame...Jessie Nelson has assembled a grab-bag of showbiz conventions, with director Diane Paulus a willing collaborator...Spreading the material around, songs are given to a number of supporting characters...in Sara Bareilles' serviceable but unmemorable score.” Full Review
"It’s easy as pie to fall for 'Waitress'...Deliciousness is on the menu...Mueller’s performance is nicely balanced...Mueller’s also a perfect fit for Bareilles’s alternately sorrowful and empowering songs...'Waitress' does a swell job illustrating the shades of gray in human relationships..Jessie Nelson’s book is sharp. 'Waitress' is more than capably directed by Diane Paulus. The pie is ready. Leave room for second helpings." Full Review
See it if you’re open to women’s perspectives on infidelity, unequal relationships, & reluctant motherhood shown in a lighthearted, non-judgmental way
Don't see it if you’re expecting extraordinary music or staging
See it if You enjoyed the movie or enjoy a fun musical. Great singing and acting and very enjoyable.
Don't see it if You don't like the aroma of pie (pie cups available for purchase) or if you aren't interested in a musical.
See it if you love Sara Bareilles music. It is all her music in a musical. Jesse did an incredible job of making this good in the lead role.
Don't see it if if you don't love Sara Bareilles music. Everything is her music and it is not terrific but good to see if you have seen everything else.
See it if you love romantic comedies, Sara Bareilles, or Betsy Wolfe. This show was super sweet and a blast to watch
Don't see it if you're looking for a deep meaningful show. This really is a romantic comedy put on stage
See it if You liked the movie and go in with lower expectations. Want to laugh at some pretty funny characters! Drew Gehling is amazing.
Don't see it if You hated the movie or expect to be wowed by Betsy Wolfe. Don't like pop filled musicals.
See it if You enjoy pie! If you enjoy a strong plot with a great score, a wide range of emotions, and lots of cute moments.
Don't see it if You do not like the music of Sara Bareilles.
See it if I don't understand the negative reviews; it's a cute show- saw it with Sara B. as lead. Great music. Cute story. Not entirely sung, which is
Don't see it if A +. I like dialogue in my musicals. It smelled liked pie, upon entry. Some cussing; simulated sex and abuse- so not for the very young.
See it if Super fun! Well written & excellent music performed perfectly by the cast. Saw on 5-25-17 and was lucky to see Sara Barielles in the lead.
Don't see it if You don't like modern musicals. Or movie adaptions onto the stage. But honestly, the book is so well written you would never know.
See it if You enjoy well-crafted, entertaining musicals. Sara B and cast are simply outstanding, a pleasure to watch. Fluffy story, happy ending.
Don't see it if You dislike musicals, or prefer traditional tap-dancey/jazz-hands/Sondheim-y stuff. This is straight up the middle and well done.
See it if you're up for a fun night with some well placed sentimentality. If you're a big fan of Sara Bareilles, you're also in the right place.
Don't see it if if repeatedly hearing "sugar, butter, flour" is just too sweet for you.
See it if you are interested in contemporary romance and issues raised by complex relationships. Great cast. My 95 year old mother loved it.
Don't see it if romantic love outside of marriage distresses you.