Joanna Ampilwill immediately start work on Waitress, the hit Broadway musical that will be staged in Manila by Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group.

Even before she won her first Best Actress award for the film adaptation of the acclaimed musical, “Ang Larawan,” at last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, Joanna Ampil has been saying in recent years that she wanted to expand her acting horizons.

“If I could, I want to get into radio, television and films. I want to keep learning. I never want to stop. I’m up for any challenge. I’m an actor. I’m an artist. I’ll take on anything. As long as it will challenge me and stretch me as an artist, I’m all for it.

“Waitress is a very special show and it’s going to be directed by one of my favourite directors, Bobby Garcia, who I last worked with in Bridges of Madison County. I’m also a fan of Sara Bareilles who does the music and lyrics based on the book by Jessie Nelson.

“It’s full of ingredients, metaphorically and literally. It’s about women empowerment, mother-and-daughter relationships, friendships and bonding. It’s also about finding your strength back and knowing that it’s never too late to achieve what you want in life.”

With her two friends Dawn, played by Maronne Cruz, and Becky, portrayed by Bituin Escalante, Jenna builds the courage to find her strength back and change her destiny even as she turns to baking to deal with her mostly mundane existence.

Asked if she herself bakes just like her character, Joanna laughed aloud and said, “No, I don’t. I don’t go near a kitchen. But I like pies, especially the sweet ones. Baking is a very essential and integral part of the show, though”

As to how familiar she is with Waitress, Joanna confessed that although she has seen the original film version, she has yet to see the musical but has read the script and familiarised herself with the soundtrack. “After hearing the music, I’m very, very excited. The show is very rich with colorful characters so it’s nice to be challenged again by something so enormous,” she mused.

While she’s back in town, Joanna is looking forward to accepting other acting vehicles as well. “I believe there were offers but since I’ve been away, I had to turn some things down.

“I am open to doing movies and also TV as I’ve mentioned in the past. I’m open to doing so many things.”