Jessie Mueller Waitress 2

** 1/2

I have to admit: WAITRESS, BRIGHT STAR and SHE LOVES ME are pretty much a Romantic-Musical-Comedy blur to me. The specific joys of WAITRESS are the wonderful score by Sara Bareilles which include some sophisticated lyrics and tunes with strong pop hooks, the handsome and adept physical comedian Drew Gehling as the inappropriate love interest, the always delightful scene stealer Christopher Fitzgerald and the big-hearted, wide open soul with a voice that soars, Jessie Mueller.

What it’s missing is a decent sound design. I lost about 1/3rd of the lyrics to muffled sound (I was sitting in the 8th row, center orchestra). I found it even more disconcerting because the cast all wear those little round mouth mics (think 1990’s Madonna) instead of the usual tiny mics in their wigs. So much for the Tony Committee deciding that Sound Design isn’t important enough to be recognized.

My other big problem is that, for a musical touted as having a landmark all-female creative team*, the resolution to the Waitress’ financial problems comes by way of a gift from a MAN.  I understand that they are mirroring the movie, but with that many “sisters” in control, why wouldn’t they fix this glaring stroke of misogyny?

FaceBook Page: Reinstate the Tony for Sound Design

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*BTW – All but one of the designers is male. 


One of the most glorious things about theater is that you can find great productions anywhere. A show doesn’t have to be on Broadway to be at the top of its form.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ is a shining example of musical theater perfection.  The director, Jessica Stone has compiled a who’s who of New York comedic actors, set them loose on this slapstick musical comedy and the result is a gut-busting frolic.  Christopher Fitzgerald (Finian’s Rainbow, Young Frankenstein) reinvents the role of Pseudolus with his unique brand of charm and humor, Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, Buyer And Cellar) has exquisite comic timing as Hysterium and David Turner (Arcadia, Sunday In The Park) had me in hysterics with his Philia.  I could go on; the entire cast is excellent.  The inimitable Denis Jones puts a shine on the dance numbers and Ms. Stone has created theatrical champagne.

Over the past 4 years, I have watched Two River Theater take chances on directors, actors and shows.  It is wonderful to see their smart speculations pay off grandly.  THE SHOW ONLY RUNS THRU DECEMBER 13.

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It’s an 80 min. train ride from NY Penn Station to Red Bank, NJ.  The Theater is a block from the train station.  There are plenty of great restaurants right there.