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Recap: ‘Waitress’ at Wharton Center in East Lansing, MI [Art 101]

Something unexpected happened while watching ‘Waitress’ at Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing, MI on January 23, 2018. The main character Jenna (Dessi Oakley) and I shared several instances of conflict.

To avoid an implied one-sided scuffle with her abusive, drunkard husband Earl (Nick Bailey), Jenna revealed she was pregnant as a defense. I wanted to leave my seat in Cobb Great Hall to take violent action against him on her behalf.

Later Jenna found herself having an emotional clash with the child growing inside of her. She sat alone with no one around to intervene with experienced words of encouragement on parenting. I wanted to go sit next to her and provide some of mine, and share advice that was offered to me.

As Jenna struggled with knowing an opportunity she’d worked so hard for was about to pass her by, I wanted to take her hand and walk her through time, back to when I was a 20-year-old would-be writer surrounded by closed doors. But I couldn’t because Jenna’s not real. She’s a character being portrayed on stage, and I was there to observe, be entertained, and write my impression. I did not expect to be that invested and moved.

This is why I sincerely applauded the conclusion of ‘Waitress’.

waitress-photo6-a7bd0c4857Based on a book by Jesse Nelson and filled with outstanding songs from the musical genius of Sara Bareilles, this was a colorful set driven by lively characters and superb dialogue. Their interactions in and outside of Joe’s Pie Diner, especially those between the pie-baking,  pregnant waitress Jenna and her regular customer Joe (Larry Marshall) ,will make you laugh, you might even cry, and you’ll surely walk away craving a sweet slice of life. |

[Art (noun): 1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. 2. the various branches of creative activity.]


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Thank you for visiting! Liquid Magazine is the entertainment of art.

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