‘Waitress’ embodies empowerment & friendship

By Rachel Teseneer
Times-News correspondent

    DURHAM — “Waitress” tells a heartwarming story of friendship, self-love and empowerment.
The musical is being performed at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) now through Sunday. The music and lyrics were written by six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus,
The story follows the main character, Jenna (Desi Oakley), who is a waitress and is known for baking amazing pies. Jenna feels stuck in her loveless marriage and small-town life, but hope is found when she learns of a baking contest in a nearby town. Throughout the show, Jenna strengthens friendships, and finds her own happiness in being herself.
   Oakley is perhaps one of the most talented female leads to come to DPAC. Every song was sung astonishingly well, with all the right amounts of emotion. Her two female counterparts, both waitresses at the same diner as Jenna, Becky (Charity Angel Dawson) and Dawn (Lenne Klingaman), were full of personality and talent. Dawson, with powerful vocals and a stubbornly funny personality, filled the audience with smiles, while Klingaman played the dorky and adorable sidekick.
The set gave the perfect illusion of a small town. The windows in the diner were large and showed off the long and winding road with numerous telephone poles that made up the background. The bus stop scene had a gorgeous sunset, which continued to evolve as the scene progressed. The colors used in the set, costumes and props all had similar themes of blues and pinks and added to the continuity of the show.
“Waitress” is a truly beautiful show and has some of the most relatable and humanistic characters to be seen on stage. While every scene is sure to bring laughter, there are plenty of touching moments that will resonate with audiences to some degree.
Potential audience members should note that there is some strong language used in this show as well as some adult themes.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3; 8 p.m. Friday, May 4; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 5; and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6, 2018, at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets are $62 to $163 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com. For more details on the show, visit dpacnc.com.

Rachel Teseneer is a sophomore at North Carolina State University and a Teens & 20s writer.

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