The hit Broadway musical Waitress, based on the film of the same name and featuring a score by Sara Bareilles, has just revealed a new star joining the cast. There is about to be a new doctor in town when singer-songwriter Jason Mraz steps into the role of Dr. Pomatter, the OB/GYN who is smitten with the lead character Jenna (Betsy Wolfe). Mraz will join the production on November 3, 2017 for a ten-week run.
Both Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz had been hinting earlier this week on social media that they had big news coming. Most of their fans pieced together that the announcement would be about Mraz joining the show, an exciting twist in casting since he and Bareilles sang together on the Waitress concept album titled What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress. Mraz has enjoyed his own music career, debuting his first studio album Waiting for My Rocket to Come in 2002. Subsequent albums include Mr. A-Z (2005), We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things (2008), and Love is a Four-Letter Word (2012). Mraz is also a winner of two Grammy Awards.
Besides Bareilles’s celebrated score, Waitress features a book by Jessie Nelson, adapted from 2007 screenplay by Adrienne Shelly. The musical opened at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April of 2016. Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) directed the show with choreography by Chase Brock. The original cast featured Jessie Mueller (Jenna), Drew Gehling (Dr. Pomatter), Nick Cordero (Earl), Keala Settle (Becky), Kimiko Glenn (Dawn), Dakin Matthews (Joe) and Christopher Fitzgerald (Ogie). Bareilles, Mueller, Fitzgerald, and the musical itself were all nominated for Tony Awards.
“Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker in a small town, who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage with her husband Earl. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new physician, Dr. Pomatter, may offer her a chance at a new life, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes to happiness. But Jenna must find the courage and strength within herself to rebuild her life. This new American musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.