Joe was the owner of a successful range of amenities ocated in the American south, including a gas station, supermarket, laundromat and diner, called Joe’s Pie Diner. The diner specialises in the sale of freshly-baked pies, cooked on the premises every day, many of which are uniquely invented by diner owner, Jenna Hunterson.

Background and Story

Joe has been married and divorced three times and has no children, having a reputation of being mean and demanding. He reads ‘The Springfield Gazette’, reading his horoscope and visiting his diner frequently to eat, as he loves the pies made by Jenna. Joe came close to being a father in 1948, when he was seeing a woman called Annette, who got pregnant, but she lost the baby, which he considers a ‘close call’.

Joe’s reputation for being demanding comes from his specific order requirements at the diner – he will order ‘tomato on the side, on its own plate’, ‘well-done Frenchie fries, on their own plate’ and asks for things to come out in a specific order, such as ‘water first, OJ with the meal’. He also comments on how warm the diner is, and how warm all of his businesses are kept.

Joe convinces Jenna, whom he considers his only friend, to enter the National Pie Bake-Off, so she can leave her husband. At Dawn and Ogie‘s wedding, he reveals he is having liver problems and needs part of it removed. He is in hospital when Jenna goes into labour and delivers her a special congratulations card. Joe passes away whilst in hospital, but has left Jenna the diner, with just one request: “name a pie for me when I’m gone.” Joe is estimated to be at least 84 years old at the time of his passing.



The role of Joe was originally played by Dakin Matthews in both the American Repertory Theater and Broadway productions. Notable replacements on Broadway have included Al RokerLarry Marshall and, in gender-blind casting, June Squibb, who turned Joe into Josie.

In London’s West End, the role was originated by Shaun PrendergastAndrew Boyer took over on 12 August 2019.


During June Squibb‘s run on Broadway, there were slight script changes to accommodate the gender-swap from Joe to Josie, revealing that it was Josie who lost the baby in 1948.

West End

Stephen Leask and Chris McGuigan have played the role of Joe during cast holidays/absence.


OccupationJoe’s Pie Diner, Owner
Original CastDakin Matthews Broadway
Shaun Prendergast West End
Larry Marshall First National Tour