On the red carpet at the Tribeca premiere of Waitress the Musical – Live on Broadway!, cast and crew of the show – including Sara Bareilles talked to Playbill about the recording.

The show was originally due to be filmed in London, whilst Sara was part of the show in early 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans to record the show were scuppered. 

“When Waitress closed because of the pandemic, we always had a regret that we hadn’t made a live capture happen. So we thought we’d said goodbye. And then when we got the opportunity to reopen, we were like, we have to make this happen. There’s so many people who just love this show. We’re just like, we have to have a way to bring it to them, and it’s happening in Times Square tonight.

“I grew up in a small town. I didn’t get to see musicals, either. I actually want to give a shout out to repertory theatres though, small community theatres all over – that is where I saw my theatre. But the big Broadway companies, I had to watch on the PBS specials—the Into the Woods, and the recorded Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. They were the thing that introduced me to theatre and made me love it so much.”

Drew Gehling, who plays Dr. Pomatter in the recording, agrees: “I grew up on Into the Woods, and I grew up on that Sunday in the Park with George, filmed by PBS, and even the Legally Blonde that they did on MTV – that was really formative. So to have this be someone’s first experience of the theatre is really really incredible.”

For a show as wholehearted as Waitress, director Diane Paulus says the significance of a filmed capture goes beyond increasing availability of theatre itself. The meaning of Waitress is relevant to the experiences of so many audience members, which makes the release of the film even more special. 

“It means so much to be able to share this work… for them to experience a story that is about the messy stuff of life. That is about the beauty of friendship, and a community coming together around a character who’s struggling in life, and struggling in a difficult relationship – that you can get out of an abusive relationship, that there is always a second chance.”

Sara added: “It’s so celebratory, this is such a labour of love. This is such a culmination of so many years of effort, and energy, and cast changes, and rebirth, and pandemic, and coming up. It’s just been moving mountains to make this happen.”