Broadway Portland: Waitress Review

‘Sugar, Butter, Flour’ – What’s Inside Jenna’s Pies

Based off Adrienne Shelly’s film Waitress, the Broadway musical is only in Portland for one-week and is baked with the perfect amount of humor, drama, sass and passion.  I am pleased to provide the following review in partnership with Broadway Portland; all opinions are my own.

Portland Broadway, Waitress

My mom and I were particularly excited to attend the Waitress Broadway musical, as we own the film and have memorized many of the pie recipes.  In short, the story line is about a woman named Jenna who is pie diner waitress and uses pie making (and ingredient creativity) to narrate life experiences including an abusive marriage, unwanted pregnancy, loving friendships and discovering self-worth.  Although considered a comedy, the story has some very serious content and real-life experiences and I questioned how this would translate into a musical.

Portland Broadway, Waitress

I was surprised to find the musical more hysterical than the film and it captured the sensitive content with grace and sincerity through song and dance.  As with most plays, I also felt more connected with the live actors particularly Jenna who was extremely charming and relatable.  The music features original songs by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles and were very uplifting and empowering as Jenna, Dawn and Becky sang about the challenges of motherhood, finding love, online dating, judgement and having big dreams.

Portland Broadway, Waitress

Adapting film to theater presents unique challenges and you have to make compromises to fit the medium.  There were three repetitive sets; Joe’s Diner, Jenna’s living room and the doctor’s office.  However, the humor in the musical kept the scenes lively and entertaining throughout.  In the musical, Ogie (Dawn’s online date turned husband) had a stand-out comical performance.  We looked forward to each of his on-set appearances.

Portland Broadway, Waitress

Jenna’s character played by Desi Oakley was a perfect balance of sweet and a bit salty. I think the audience including myself can relate to the struggles of navigating self-worth and working hard to achieve your personal goals with the pressures of relationships and social acceptance. One of the reasons I loved the film so much was the idea of creating a pie that included baking ingredients encompassing life experiences because somehow this makes it easier to cope with struggles and easier to celebrate accomplishments.  This was a powerful idea that translated really well into a musical. Although Jenna’s voice was astounding and her southern accent charmed us, my favorite song performance was by Charity Angel Dawson who plays ‘Becky’ at the diner.

Portland Broadway, Waitress

Whether you are a fan of the film Waitress or looking for an emotionally satisfying performance about self-liberation, this musical hit will not disappoint you.  If you aren’t convinced yet, you should also know this play is brought to you by an all-women creative team.  I should warn; you may leave the play with an insatiable desire for sweet treats of the pie variety and begin humming ingredients in your head correlating to your own current life experiences.

Remaining Performance Schedule and Ticket Information:

Friday, September 21: 7:30pm – Audio Described Performance
Saturday, September 22: 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, September 23: 1:00pm and 6:30pm – Open Caption Performance

Wheelchair seating is available at all performances. For information on ADA seating, please call the Broadway in Portland Box Office 503-417-0573, email or visit the Broadway in Portland Box Office in person (Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm)

Tickets can be purchased: or at Portland’5 Box Office: 800-273-1530

Waitress Social Accounts:

For more tour information, please visit

Connect with #WAITRESSTOUR


Twitter: @WaitressMusical

Instagram: @WaitressMusical

Barlow Artisanal Bar:

If you’re looking for a great bar with inventive mixology and tasty snacks near the Keller Auditorium, I would recommend Barlow.  Although there is not a full dinner menu, the appetizers are extremely filling.  I personally like to indulge in their picnic boards including the bruschetta plate and a glass of prosecco.

barlow pdx


  1. Sue
    September 21, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    This play was so great, never a dull moment. Literally laughed outloud. The music was great, acting fantastic. Love, love, loved it!

  2. September 21, 2018 / 11:29 pm

    I was curious how well it translated to a musical, sounds like it did well! Also totally agree with Barlow being a great after the show spot, I also like the restaurant Nel Centro in Hotel Modera who often make themed cocktails to match nearby shows!

  3. September 21, 2018 / 11:58 pm

    A friend invited me to see Waitress with her last week and I was so beautifully surprised by how great it was!!! Now, I’m interested to watch the movie again too. Just pulled it up On Demand.

  4. September 22, 2018 / 2:14 am

    I wish I knew Waitress was here for only one week, I would have bought tickets. I LOVE that movie! I’ve been wanting to try Barlow as well, it sounds great!

  5. September 24, 2018 / 3:40 pm

    How fun. I love a good Broadway show and don’t get to them as much as I’d like. Good reminder to get out more and see some shows. This one sounds like a lot of fun.

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