American Repertory Theater

The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, committed to new plays and musical theatre explorations.

In May 2008, Diane Paulus became the Artistic Director of the ART. Paulus was educated at Harvard, with previous work including The Donkey Show, which ran off-Broadway for six years and the Public Theater’s 2008 production of Hair, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Premiere of Waitress

In 2015, Diane Paulus brought Waitress to the stage for the first time, at the ART, as the musical’s director. The show opened on 2 August 2015 in previews, with the opening night on 19 August 2015. It closed on 27 August 2015, and was reworked ahead of its premiere on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

ART Production Differences

There are many differences between the ART production of Waitress and the final version that premiered on Broadway, which became the final script. Sara Bareilles said: “There are a lot of things that are being re-examined. The set design, lots of moments in the music… once you get the opportunity to see the show in front of an audience, you realise so much about it. Things that I thought were very clear end up being confusing or the narrative isn’t coming through as strong as it could. I’m staying really open-minded – we just want to tell the best story for the New York audience and give this show the heart and soul that it deserves.”

Some of the differences include:

  • The use of ‘Door Number Three‘ instead of ‘What Baking Can Do
  • A reversed stage layout, with the kitchen and board on the right of the stage, as opposed to the left
  • Different pies on the board for Joe’s Pie Diner
  • The show’s original branding used an alternative font

There were also countless storyline changes from ART to Broadway.


Many of the cast who starred in the ART production of Waitress transferred to the Broadway production.


The ART band were conducted by Nadia DiGiallonardo, with Adam Michael Kaufman as Associate Conductor.

  • Piano – Nadia DiGiallonardo
  • Drums – Rich Hinman
  • Bass – Lee Nadel
  • Cellow – Yair Evnine
  • Keyboard – Jamie Edwards

On-Sale Pies

Pies are usually available for sale to the audience wherever Waitress is shown, and this trend started with two pies at the ART – strawberry rhubarb and pecan pie. These pies both had a pastry crust, and were baked in Cambridge by Petsi Pies.

TheatreAmerican Repertory Theater
Preview2 August 2015
Opening19 August 2015
Closing27 September 2015
American Repertory Theatre with Waitress: A New Musical banner, 2015