Some big news coming from the Broadway production of Waitress which will wind up its hit run at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre after the New Year. Beloved weatherman and anchor of the TODAY Show Al Roker will return to the role of “Joe” in the Sara Bareilles/Jessie Nelson musical, a role he tackled in the production last fall. His tenure with the show will be from November 1 to November 24, 2019. Additionally, pop musical superstar Jordin Sparks has extended her shift at the diner. She will now be staying with the production through November 24, 2019.
Roker has enjoyed a varied and exciting career, with such credits to his name as a bestselling author, recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval, a Daytime Emmy Award and two Guinness World Records. Since 1985, he has co-hosted for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center and co-hosts The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rose Bowl Parade, and numerous NBC specials. His “Lend a Hand Today” initiative has taken him across the country and raised millions to help small charities. Mr. Roker’s eponymous entertainment company develops and produces programming for numerous networks.
Grammy-nominated, a multi-platinum, singer/songwriter and actress, Sparks was the winner of season six American Idol, igniting a hot career in the pop music industry. Sparks’ popular singles have sold over 10 million digital tracks and has received to date two BET Awards, one American Music Award, one BMI Songwriting Award, one People’s Choice Award, nominated for two MTV Awards, and a Grammy. Sparks made her Broadway debut during the original run of the long-running musical In the Heights.
“Waitresstells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as “The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed by My Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest in a nearby county — and a satisfying run-in with someone new — show Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it. Change is on the menu, as long as Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness.”
Waitress is directed by Diane Paulus, with choreography by Lorin Latarro. The musical is based upon the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly.
(Please note that Al Roker will not perform on Saturday or Sunday 2pm Matinees, or on Saturday November 23 8pm evening. He will perform in both shows (2pm & 7pm) on Sunday November 24).
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His forthcoming book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, will hit the shelves in October, 2019. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
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