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‘Waitress’ Musical Serves Up Broadway’s First All-Female Creative Team

Waitress review musical
Evgenia Eliseeva

With the addition of choreographer Lorin Latarro, the incoming musical “Waitress” has put together what’s being touted as Broadway’s first all-female creative team.

Latarro, the choreographer of immersive dance-theater performance “Queen of the Night” and the associate choreographer of Broadway’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” joins a “Waitress” team that already includes songwriter Sara Bareilles, book writer Jessie Nelson and director Diane Paulus (“Finding Neverland”). The all-female squad comes together just as Broadway, like the entertainment industry overall, has become increasingly aware of a lack of gender parity across all sectors of the industry.

On Broadway, women have made notable strides in directing over the years. The watershed event came during the 1998 Tony ceremony, when Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”) and Gerry Hynes (“The Beauty Queen of Leenane”) became the first women to win the evening’s two big directing trophies in the same year. When Paulus won a directing Tony in 2013 for “Pippin,” the award for play direction went to Pam MacKinnon for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

However, across-the-board parity hasn’t yet been achieved. Last year, for instance, was the first that an all-female composer-lyricist duo won the Tony Award for best score, with Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori taking the honor for “Fun Home.”

The 1978 musical “Runaways” was written, composed, directed and choreographed by Elizabeth Swados. But with Latarro on board, “Waitress” has become the first Broadway production to fill a musical’s four major creative slots — songwriter, book writer, director and choreographer — with a team compromised of multiple women.

Latarro replaces Chase Brock (“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”), who choreographed the show during its tryout run (pictured above) at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. With Tony winner Jessie Mueller in the lead role, “Waitress” begins previews March 25 prior to an April 24 opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.