12.28.2018

HUB REVIEW: Waitress at Sacramento Community Center Theater

HUB REVIEW: Waitress at Sacramento Community Center Theater

By Michael P Coleman

It’s not often that you walk out of a two and a half hour performance wondering about the level of talent of the show’s lead. 

That was my experience as I strolled out of the Sacramento Community Center Theater after last night’s premiere of Waitress. Signs throughout the lobby announced that the lead role, “Jenna,” was being played by understudy Emily Koch.  Christine Dwyer is the actress cast in the role.

If I were Dwyer, I’d be concerned.  Koch is a powerhouse who seamlessly integrated into the show’s superb cast. 

Waitress boasts quite an ensemble, with Maiesha McQueen, Jeremy Morse, and Broadway and television legend Richard Kline (“Three’s Company,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Wicked, The Sting) being other standouts.  In a couple of scenes, Morse’s penchant for physical comedy threatened to steal the show — the guy’s hilarious.  Kline gave an almost effortless, touching performance.  In the singing department, McQueen’s powerful, Baptist church-worthy pipes matched Koch’s.

Inspired by the feature film, Waitress tells the story of a pie making server who, like the best of musical theater’s heroes, dreams of something more.  She faces a handful of obstacles along the way, but has a band of buddies to help point her in the right direction. 

Both Waitress’ language and thematic elements might be good reasons to get child care for the pre-teens before heading out to see it.  I was particularly surprised by some of those thematic elements, and I’m curious to see how today’s #MeToo-aware audiences respond to a couple of them. 

That said, Waitress served up a fantastic night at the theatre.  I’m praying for Dwyer for a speedy return to the stage.  If she’s not back soon, she may be waiting tables at a real diner somewhere, while Koch will be headed to the Tony’s. 

Waitress runs through January 5 at the Community Center Theater in Sacramento.  Tickets start at $31 and are available at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street, Sacramento, or by calling (916) 557-1999.  They are also available at the Community Center Theater Box Office, 1301 L Street, Sacramento, or by calling (916) 808-5181, or online at BroadwaySacramento.com or tickets.com.

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 Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com, follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.