Waitress Katharine McPhee
Waitress Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee to Play Jenna for Final Stretch of Broadway’s Waitress

As we regrettably prepare to say goodbye to the hit musical Waitress on January 5, 2020, some exciting news has come along to buoy our spirits during this fond farewell. Katharine McPhee, who has played Jenna on Broadway during the show’s run, and who originated the role in the London production, will return to Broadway for the show’s final weeks. McPhee will start her new shift at the diner on November 25, 2019, and will stay until the curtain comes down on the production that is currently playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

Katharine McPhee first came to international attention when she performed on Season 5 of American Idol. A successful recording artist and a frequent name on the Billboard pop, jazz, adult contemporary, and holiday charts, McPhee’s most recent album “I Fall in Love Too Easily” was a celebration of American Song Standards. She drew additional acclaim for her work on the 2013 NBC TV musical drama Smash, where she played one of the two actresses vying for the role of Marilyn Monroe in a Broadway-bound musical. She also starred in CBS drama Scorpion.

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.”

Based on the 2007 motion picture of the same name, Waitress features a score by pop music sensation Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson, inspired by the Adrienne Shelly screenplay. With choreography by Lorin Latarro, Waitress is directed by Diane Paulus (Pippin). 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 Saunders-Newton, Sophia Rodriguez, Stephanie Torns and Dan Tracy. Al Roker joins the company on November 1, replacing Larry Marshall.

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 latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, released on October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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