As Waitress begins to wind-down its hit run at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre, exciting news has been revealed that one of the musical’s original cast members will return to the see it through its final performance. Drew Gehling, who originated the role of Dr. Pomatter in the Sara Bareilles/Jessie Nelson, will rejoin the production starting October 30, 2019 and staying with the show until it closes its doors on January 5, 2020. Gehling succeeds Mark Evans who currently plays the role of Dr. Pomatter.
This is not the first time Gehling will return to the role of the good doctor, having visited the diner for several stints during its run. Gehling has also appeared on Broadway in Jersey Boys and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Regional audiences have seen him in Almost Famous (Old Globe Theatre) and Dave (Arena Stage).
Throughout its three-year run, Waitress has enjoyed a parade of stars from the stage and screen coming through the diner. Currently, American Idol champion Jordin Sparks is playing the role of Jenna, originated on Broadway by Jessie Mueller. The show’s composer Sara Bareilles has also stepped into the role, as has Betsy Wolfe, Katharine McPhee, Nicolette Robinson, and Shoshana Bean. Dr. Pomatter replacements throughout the run include Jason Mraz, Erich Bergen, Gavin Creel, Joey McIntyre, and Jeremy Jordan. Today Show weatherman Al Roker will return to the role of “Old Joe” for a short spell beginning November 1st, returning to the part he played last year. Other alums include Christopher Fitzgerald, Colleen Ballinger, Dakin Matthews, Eddie Jemison (who played Ogie in the film) Jenna Ushkowitz, John Cullum, June Squibb (who played the role of Josie – formerly Joe), Katie Lowes, Keala Settle, Kimiko Glenn, Noah Galvin, Todrick Hall, Will Swenson, and eight five-year-old girls who played Lulu.
Waitress holds the distinction of being the first Broadway musical in history to have four women at its creative helm. The musical features a book by Jessie Nelson, a score by six-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro, and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus.
“Waitress tells 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.”
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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