Open run


Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing, Funny, Great acting
62 reviews
2604 reviews

Inspired by the film of the same name, the Broadway musical 'Waitress' features songs by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles, who is currently starring in the production. 

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Jenna is a waitress and expert pie maker in a small town who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life. Directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus.

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Reviews (2666)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

"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


"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

Time Out New York

"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


"'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

New York Post

"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 Guardian (UK)

"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

The Huffington Post

"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

DC Theatre Scene

"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

Lighting & Sound America

“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

Front Row Center

"'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

Talkin' Broadway

"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

The Wall Street Journal

"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

AM New York

"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

The Hollywood Reporter

"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

New York Magazine / Vulture

"'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 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


"'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

Chicago Tribune

"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 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 Sara Bareilles' serviceable but unmemorable score.” Full Review

The Wrap

"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


"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

Front Mezz Junkies

"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


"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 Associated Press

"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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Great singing

See it if You want to see a show with a great score and a lot of heart. I had a fantastic evening, smiling ear to ear! Not for young kids, but great!

Don't see it if You are looking for anything innovative in the theatre. They stick to the typical format of story telling but, I think, it's so charming!

Raunchy, Banal, Overrated, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if You loved the movie or you like Sara Bareilles's songwriting. The 11 o clock number is truly spectacular.

Don't see it if You find corny depictions of the South boring and a little offensive. It's a little precious and tidy, too.

Delightful, Dated, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to see a lovely musical with a slightly less-lovely plot

Don't see it if You want a musical that is light and upbeat all the time

Funny, Great acting, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love a funny, entertaining show with great ensemble acting and singing.

Don't see it if you don't feel like having a good time, or if you want to see a show with a more serious/thought-provoking storyline.

Also The show has a simple plot. Nothing new, nothing groundbreaking. But J... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You like an entertaining musical.

Don't see it if You like big and flashy musicals

Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you want to hear a good new score and don't require that the show it's in be a masterwork

Don't see it if obvious dramaturgical flaws that would have easily been corrected drive you crazy

Also It would have taken so little to get this charming show to a higher le... Read more Read less

Delightful, Enchanting, Must see, Quirky, Great singing

See it if You love stories about women taking back their power. And pie.

Don't see it if You don't like stories about 'real people.'

Clever, Disappointing, Entertaining

See it if Want to be entertained for an evening.

Don't see it if Expect to see another Beautiful.

Also All the actors are outstanding.The plot is trite and at times not very... Read more Read less

Clever, charming, uplifting, pleasant

See it if you loved the film and you want to see a faithful musical version that is sweet and has a lot of heart and hope. Jessie Mueller is perfect

Don't see it if you like carbon copies of films put on the stage with songs and some light dancing without adding any new or original takes to the story.

Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to see a show that showcases strong female leads (Jessie Mueller is amazing), like catchy songs, and positive messages.

Don't see it if You're looking for an extremely poignant show, something intellectual, or don't want to have a good time.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Lovely score

See it if You are a Sara Bareilles fan. The music was more varied and beautifully fit the story. Jesse Mueller was great!

Don't see it if You have issues with abusive relationships or women cheating on their husband.

Overrated, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like musicals

Don't see it if if you don't like musicals

Delightful, Refreshing, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if You like pop music and would enjoy a heart-broken turned victorious female story. A heart-warming shows that sells great pies in mason jars!

Don't see it if You want something edgy or don't enjoy pop/folkish music.

Clever, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to see Jessie Mueller, like female lead stories, enjoy contemporary music.

Don't see it if you want big production numbers, insightful story.

Also Jessie Mueller is great in this musical with an all female production ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Insipid, Overrated, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like Jessie Mueller. You like Sara Bareilles' music. You saw and liked the movie (I guess). You like highly amplified pop-music shows.

Don't see it if You don't like pop music. You want to be able to hear Jessie Mueller sing clearly. You like fluffy shows.

Also Maybe I disliked this so intensely because I have been looking forward... Read more Read less

Funny, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing, Energetic

See it if you want to laugh (I didn't think it would be as funny as it was), you like good, catchy songs, you like a simple, easy to follow story.

Don't see it if you don't like somewhat fluffy plots, slightly unoriginal lyrics, and no dance numbers.

Relevant, Entertaining, Realistic, Fresh, Great adaption/interpretation of a film

See it if you want something real. Jessie Mueller is outstanding. The music is phenomenal.

Don't see it if you are going to the theater with children. Definitely NOT child friendly.

Also They sell small (overpriced) pies which I am sure taste amazing, but a... Read more Read less

Delightful, Quirky, Romantic, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if you like a classic musical with a refreshingly updated score; Jessie Mueller is absolutely incredible in this, as is the rest of the cast.

Don't see it if you want a serious show that's unpredictable; if you don't like scores that are pretty pop-y.

Funny, Cliched, Entertaining, Great singing, Fluffy

See it if you want to see J. Mueller whose acting & singing are wonderful; a musical with a variety of types of scenes - silly, touching, disturbing

Don't see it if you'd be annoyed by a musical with silly scenes followed by scenes of domestic abuse no matter how good the scenes are individually

Delightful, Cliched, Great singing

See it if you're looking for a fun show with a wonderful soundtrack that never stops being entertaining from beginning to end

Don't see it if you're looking for a more innovative story or concept

Ambitious, Cliched, Overrated, Fluffy

See it if want a light hearted approach about spousal abuse. Felt like I was watching Mel's Diner from the series Alice. Wasn't aware is a true story.

Don't see it if You want the full Broadway experience with spectacular staging. Felt clichéd. Characters were one dimensional and cartoonish.

Great acting, Resonant, Entertaining, Great singing, Feministic

See it if You want to be inspired by the character Jenna to better her life and circumstance.

Don't see it if You don't like to see the female lead character made out as a victim though she prevails in the end.

Delightful, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if You enjoy feel-good, predictable shows with incredibly talented actors who shine!

Don't see it if You don't enjoy happy themes or pop style musicals

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy tales of people overcoming obstacles & making the best of their situations; you liked the movie; you like Sara Bareilles's music.

Don't see it if spousal abuse & sexual affairs make you uncomfortable; you dislike upbeat musicals; you hate pies and the lovely smell of pie.

Delightful, Entertaining, Fun, Great singing

See it if You want a fun, light-hearted show with string performances. It's well-paced and funny.

Don't see it if You didn't like the movie or you want a deep experience. This is light and maybe that is not your thing.