Playing at the Fox Theatre through Sunday, Feb. 10, the Broadway hit “Waitress” is a show that will keep you engaged, laughing, and emotionally invested from start to finish. The characters seem to make the Sara Bareilles musical more than the storyline itself. From the charming and hardworking Jenna (Christine Dwyer), to quirky and nerdy characters such as Dawn (Jessie Shelton) and Ogie (Jeremy Morse), to the witty and unassailable best friend Becky (Maiesha McQueen), each and every actor brings their own personality to the stage.
Jenna’s husband Earl (Matt DeAngelis), however, may be the role to evoke the strongest emotions in the audience, with that emotion being indignation. From the moment Earl makes his first appearance on stage in a distasteful combo of a slightly dirtied gray T-shirt and flannel, you can tell his persona will irk you throughout the performance.
One of the first lines out of his mouth directed toward his wife Jenna is, “How are we doing today?” (in reference to the amount of tip money she’s made, not in regard to her feelings or anything). In response, Jenna takes out the small amount of revenue from the day, which Earl promptly snatches from her hand before continuing to chastise her appearance and speed at which she offers her service at work.
Throughout the performance, we see multiple additional blatant acts of sexism toward the female cast (mostly Jenna) from Earl, ranging from statements regarding his compliments toward his wife as a way to “get laid” to blatantly stating, “You are the only person who’s ever belonged to me.”
Though Earl’s character continuously sparks rage within the viewer’s souls, the intense reactions we have from watching his interactions with his fellow actors and actresses shows just how powerful of a cast is present on stage.
The true satisfaction of the show comes from watching the close-knit staff of “Joe’s Pie Shop” help one another to reach a “not just happy enough” place in life.
VOX teen theatre critics had the opportunity to attend press night at “Waitress,” thanks to the generosity of Most Valuable Kids of Greater Atlanta and Broadway in Atlanta.
Broadway in Atlanta presents the national tour of “Waitress” with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson at the Fox Theatre through Sunday Feb. 10. Go to foxtheatre.org for tickets.