For those who have yet to visit Capital One Hall, now is the perfect time to check out the new venue and enjoy a slice of some great theatre, as the National Tour of the 2016 Tony-Award-nominated Best Musical, “Waitress” performs five shows Friday through Sunday.
Based on the 2007 cult independent movie, “Waitress” tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Some of her favorite creations include “The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed By My Eggs Pie.” Jenna’s life is turned upside down with news of a baking contest nearby, and an encounter with a handsome doctor. But can she write a recipe for happiness?
Thanks to songs like “She Used to Be Mine,” “Opening Up” and “When He Sees Me,” the musical is a favorite among many and continues to be one of Broadway’s biggest hits, five years after opening.
“Waitress” was created by an all-female creative team, with powerful music by Sara Bareilles, a book by Jessie Nelson, direction by Diane Paulus and choreography by Lorin Latarro, with Abbey O’Brien and Susanna Wolk serving as choreographer and director, respectively, for the tour.
For the tour, Jisel Soleil Ayon takes on the role of Jenna, while David Socolar plays Dr. Pomatter.
“I had seen the show on Broadway and loved it, so asked my agents to keep an eye out for the casting call for the tour, and they followed through, and after a number of auditions and callbacks, I got the role,” Socolar said. “It’s been such a pleasure to be part of.”
He describes Dr. Pomatter as a man who is trapped and wanting more in his life, and through charm and humor, has a nice journey in the show.
“The impact that Dr. Pomatter has on Jenna I think is a very important one for her journey,” Socolar said. “There are some really meaty scenes, and also some great music and good comedy. You sort of see how important relationships are—both friendships and romantic.”
For those who may have seen “Waitress” on Broadway, the tour is a bit different in that the stages that it appears on don’t have automation as its original theatre did. That means set pieces can’t move on and off electronically, so the tour has the ensemble being a little more involved in the set changes. This eventually became the way the Broadway production does it as well.
Aside from that, the story, songs and humor are pretty much intact, and Socolar has noticed audiences are loving it as much as he did the first time he saw the production.
“This is such a relatable story no matter what character you may relate to, there’s something in it for everyone,” Socolar said. “It’s a show where people will laugh, cry and do everything in between. It’s a very universal story about finding your way through life in its messiness and complicated nature.”
The show also stars Kennedy Salters as Becky, Gabriella Marzetta as Dawn, Brian Lundy as Ogie, Shawn W. Smith as Earl, Richard Coleman as Cal, and Michael R. Douglass as Joe.
A Baltimore native, Socolar credits his high school teachers with encouraging him towards an acting career.
“It wound up being a little bit more than a hobby, and I went to school for it and moved to New York after I graduated (from Connecticut University) and been plugging away ever since,” he said.
He first came aboard “Waitress” pre-pandemic, so the tour was put on hold for almost a year. Socolar is thrilled that the tour is back on the road, and he is currently signed on through next summer, and looking forward to every performance.
“We’ve all been having a really great time and we’ve been playing some really warm audiences,” Socolar said. “This is a show that I believe everyone will have a good time at and we are all excited to come to Tysons to bring it to the people there.”