The musical adaptation of 2007 indie film “Waitress” has set its Broadway timeline, snagging the Brooks Atkinson Theater for a run that starts preview in March.
The show, with a high-profile team of creatives that includes singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, director Diane Paulus and Tony-winning actress Jessie Mueller, had long seemed a near certainty for New York. “Waitress” locks in its Broadway dates even before critics weigh in on the musical’s current out-of-town tryout (pictured above) at Cambridge, Mass.’s American Repertory Theater, where the show (now in previews) opens Aug. 19.
Any musical coming into Broadway’s 2015-16 season faces the unenviable challenge of competing with “Hamilton,” the newly opened powerhouse that’s raised awards expectations since before it even opened Off Broadway. But many in the theater industry believe that when national attention turns to one spectacular stage success, the rising tide lifts all boats, driving interest in Broadway overall. And as recent crowded seasons have shown, there’s room for more than one big-money hit each season.
“Waitress” looks like a potential crowdpleaser, given that the movie, written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, became a sleeper hit. The storyline follows an unhappy waitress (played at A.R.T. by Mueller, in the role Keri Russell played in the movie) who gets an opportunity to change her life through a baking contest. The stage version is penned by composer Bareilles, in her first stage score, with a book by Jessie Nelson (“Corrina, Corrina”), whose upcoming film “Let It Snow,” with Diane Keaton and John Goodman, will be released this Christmas.
No casting has yet been officially confirmed for the Broadway iteration of “Waitress,” but it’d be a surprise if the musical showed up in New York without Mueller.
Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, the duo behind long-running hit “Chicago,” and Norton and Elayne Herrick, “Waitress” begins previews in March with an April opening, with exact dates yet to be set. The musical will go into the Brooks Atkinson following the limited run of the Deaf West revival of “Spring Awakening,” which begins performances there this fall.