Dominique Kent, starring as Becky in the current tour of Waitress the Musical spoke to the New Jersey Stage, before heading to another theatre in South Bend, Indiana. Grabbing the phone and finishing packing at the same time, she talked about why the musical has been so successful on its tour.

Dominique saw the play before it closed in New York, but was not in it when COVID hit.

“The COVID in New York – that’s so sad, for the cast of Waitress and all the other actors who got sick or lost their jobs, I feel for them,” she said.

Dominique, on tour for several months already, has figured out why audiences love the musical.

“I think the big lesson of the play is love. You see the love between my character, Becky, and Jenna, and Jenna and the other waitress, Dawn. Jenna needs our love and she gets it,” said Dominique.

“Becky, whom I play, is the traditional ‘big sister’ to Jenna. She helps her to see that things will get better. I think the play is trying to say that Jenna – all of us – come upon hard times. We are very depressed. We discover, though, that we have friends and those friends are there for us. They get us through tough times – on stage. I think everybody in the audience connects to that. They are in different situations, but their friends and family get them through their troubles,” said Dominique.

“I was never a waitress. I’m from Los Angeles and you just would not believe how many of my friends are or were waitresses. They all saw the play or movie and loved it. They connected immediately to the waitresses in the play. They saw themselves up on stage.

“The opening song in the play is ‘Opening Up’ and it’s all about how diners operate. It is sheer craziness in all of them. Everybody is racing about and the customers are all very hungry. You make it through the shift, though. The end of the night and the waitress leave for home and says ‘ how on earth did we make it?’ We do, though.”

“It’s a musical about healing. I think many plays are about healing. The story tells us that we all heal. The play itself is sort of a good doctor. In these tough times we live in, we all need a good laugh. I think people need to get out of the house because they were, at times, locked down in the pandemic. They need to go to the theatre and enjoy it – whether a drama or a musical. You see a play and then talk about it with friends for days. It’s a terrific escape from the pandemic. I think all theater will bounce back, eventually. That has started. We are going in the right direction.”