Fourteen years ago Keri Russell (Felicity) took on the movie role of Jenna a waitress living in the deep South who has tremendous baking skills. She wed a musician named Earl (Jeremy Sisto from Law & Order) but the marriage quickly loses its sparks of love and Earl becomes overbearing.
Fast forward fourteen years and The Waitress, now in its fifth year on Broadway, comes to IU auditorium for the first time. I went to see it with my Dad and boy did we laugh.
One day while working at the diner Jenna’s co-workers notice she looks queasy and urge her to take a pregnancy test. Reluctantly Jenna does and she finds out she will become a mom. She chooses to keep this a secret from Earl at about the same time a long time patron to the diner, Joe tells her about a pie baking contest where the winner can get twenty thousand dollars.
I like laughter it feels good and makes me feel cheery. However, the play lacks character development and a story. It does not show why Jenna and Earl have a sour marriage. I know Earl cares about cash, dislikes his construction job, wants Jenna to love him conditionally and be at home when he wants her at home. Ah ha! He has control issues but wait he still lets Jenna work longer and longer hours especially after his boss fires him for being habitually late. Also Earl does not watch Jenna like a hawk nor does he strong-arm someone at the diner to blab on her. Instead he is aloof for a long time that she hides money around the house, has become pregnant with his child and never learns about her cheating on him with the town doctor.
Then we have Becky and Cal. Becky, who works with Jenna, has a husband who has epilepsy. She does not like caring for him and longs for a different life. So does Cal, the diner cook, who likes to run a tight ship and wishes the waitresses took him more seriously. He too complains about his marriage being loveless because his wife thinks he is gay. Well it is not long before Becky and Cal have their own affair. These two hooking up has even less development than Earl, Jenna and the doctor do.
I wish I could write I felt some emotional attachment to the characters and that they could get that happily ever after ending all wanted to have but instead all I got out of the play was laughs. Lots and lots of laughs. It’s not enough to elevate the play to good.