History of Waitress

The stage rights to the movie Waitress were purchased in 2007 after Barry and Fran Weissler saw musical potential in the world and characters that Adrienne had created. They set about pulling together a creative team, but after two failed attempts, approached Diane Paulus, who the Weisslers had worked with on the Tony award-winning revival of Pippin.

Diane set about looking for a fresh take on the Broadway musical, something new and ‘more delicate’ than before. She put together a wish list of songwriters who had not written for musical theatre, the first slot belonging to Sara Bareilles. Sara was about to start the promotional cycle for her album, “The Blessed Unrest,” and, although Diane didn’t realise it, in Sara she found someone who was a ‘musical theatre geek’. It was Sara’s songs “Gravity” (which she describes as “a personal, deeply searing heartache of a song”) and “King of Anything” (“spunky with lyrical twists”) that drew Diane to her. The first song Sara wrote was ‘She Used To Be Mine‘, immediately identifying with part of Jenna’s story and recognising that “it’s actually about a woman seeking to feel like she’s worthwhile in the world.”

In June 2013, the Weisslers announced that the book for Waitress would be from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, however, in January 2014, Diane announced that Paula had left the project due to scheduling conflicts. Jessie Nelson came on board, and the show eventually opened in an early form at the American Repertory Theater on 2 August 2015, closing on 27 September 2015. A Broadway run was announced, to take place at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 2016, and the show underwent further work, with new ‘pie invention’ dream sequences added, a revised set, choreography from Lorin Latarro, script changes and the switching of ‘Door Number Three‘ for a new song, ‘What Baking Can Do‘.