Tonight is the night! Jordin Sparks officially takes over the role of Jenna in the long-running musical hit Waitress. The American Idol winner and Grammy-nominated recording star joins the show Monday, September 16th and will stay for a limited engagement that concludes on October 27th. This will mark Sparks’ triumphant return to Broadway since her debut in 2010 in In the Heights. Also returning to the production are original cast members Christopher Fitzgerald and Natasha Yvette Williams, who also start performances tonight as Ogie and Becky respectively. Caitlin Houlahan returns as Dawn on Thursday, September 19. Mark Evans will extend his run as Dr. Pomatter through October 27.
At the age of 17, Jordin Sparks burst onto the international stage as a contestant for season six of American Idol, ultimately claiming the crown. After securing a recording contract, Sparks’ singles have sold over 10 million digital tracks and she 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 also made her film debut starring opposite Whitney Houston in the SONY Pictures film, Sparkle.
“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.”
Brought to the Broadway stage by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, book writer Jessie Nelson, director Diane Paulus, and choreographer Lorin Latarro, Waitress officially opened at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24, 2016. The musical was adapted from the 2007 film of the same name with a screenplay by Adrienne Shelly. The show is set to conclude its run in January of 2020.
Waitress currently stars Jordin Sparks, Natasha Yvette Williams, Caitlin Houlahan, Mark Evans, Ben Thompson, Larry Marshall, Benny Elledge, Christopher Fitzgerald, Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Tyrone Davis Jr., Law Terrell Dunford, Andrew Fitch, Molly Hager, Jessie Hooker-Bailey, Arica Jackson, Molly Jobe, Brandon Kalm, Raigan Olivia Newton, Sophia Rodriguez, Stephanie Torns and Dan Tracy.
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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