The musical Waitress, which is making its international premiere with a sparkling new production on Nov. 9, is a celebration of friendship. That is why, during the musical’s press conference, the members of the cast, led by theater star Joanna Ampil, talked about how quickly they bonded as friends.
“The rehearsal period is of course very tiring, but with these people, you look forward to every rehearsal. It also helps that the director creates this wonderful atmosphere within the rehearsal period, it’s just full of love. Everyone is amazing to work with and I just feel privileged to be part of the cast,” Joanna shared.
“It’s amazing how quickly we bonded. You see, the level of commitment these guys put in this production—their love for the material. And it’s precious to see these guys, that’s not a kind of friendship that you let go of,” Bituin Escalante added.
The show, which continues to perform for sold-out audiences on Broadway and across the USA, is also set to debut at London’s West End in 2019 and in Australia in 2020.
Based on the beloved film by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress features music and lyrics from six-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Love Song,” “Brave”) and a book by Jessie Nelson. The show made history by having Broadway’s first all-female creative team.
Waitress tells the story of a pie maker named Jenna who, despite the mundanity of her life, finds comfort and reckoning in the simple magic of baking. With the help of her two friends Dawn and Becky, she dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage and musters the courage to change her life for the better.
Leading the show as Jenna is award-winning international musical theatre star Joanna Ampil. She has performed in the West End in musicals such as Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Avenue Q, and Jesus Christ Superstar, to name a few. Her performance as Candida in the recent film Ang Larawan has won her numerous Best Actress Awards locally.
Jenna is Joanna’s first role back in the local theatre scene after her stint as Grizabella in the international tour of Cats.
Set to play the sassy waitress and loveable friend, Becky, is none other than Bituin Escalante. An influential figure in OPM, Bituin has also made rounds in the theatre scene since 1999. Bituin has starred in numerous Tony-winning shows in roles such as Joanne in Rent, Effie White in Dreamgirls, and Asaka in Once on this Island. Her recent performance as Aling Saling in Himala: The Musical has earned her critical acclaim.
To complete the trio, Maronne Cruz will be playing the neurotic and eccentric Dawn. Maronne is no stranger to musical theatre. She has appeared in numerous productions including Jeannie in Hair, Gabbi in Sa Wakas, Josephine in Ako Si Josephine, Stepsister Joy in Cinderella. She has also appeared in the indie film Mariquina as Monet and, most recently, performed in the hit musical Ang Huling El Bimbo.
But Joe’s Pie Diner would not be complete without the men of the show. Joining them are Bibo Reyes as Dr. Pomatter, Nino Alejandro as Ogie, George Schulze as Earl, Dean Rosen as Cal, and Steven Conde as Joe.
Waitress also features Luigi Quesada, Gerhard Krysstopher, Luis Marcelo, Emeline Celis Guinid, Teetin Villanueva, Sarah Facuri, and Jillian Ita-as.
It is directed by Bobby Garcia, Choreography by Cecile Martinez, set design by Tony Award winner David Gallo, lighting design by Aaron Porter, musical direction by Farley Ascuncion, costume design by Raven Ong, sound design by Josh Millican, hair and make-up design by Johann dela Fuente and vocal coaching by Manman Angsico.
Waitress runs from Nov. 9 to Dec. 2 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati. For tickets, contact Ticketworld at (632) 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph.
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Niña Taduran’s next action
Niña Orbon Taduran is a veteran broadcast journalist prior to her entry into the political arena. Though reluctant at first, she answered the call to be 3rd nominee of the Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) partylist to expand her reach in providing public service to those who are deprived of their basic rights and services, especially on matters concerning health.
In her more than two decades as broadcast journalist, the most recent of which as co-anchor to Raffy Tulfo in their daily radio show Wanted sa Radyo, Nina has become the medium of the so-called “sumbungan ng bayan” and has helped in the speedy resolution of cases tackled in the show.
She has been championing women and children’s rights. Niña plans to push for a legislation that will safeguard the welfare and interest of women and children. She believes that stiffer penalties for violators, and empowering women and children with sufficient education and information can help eliminate the abuse done on women and children.
Her exposure to the LGBT community in her workplace also awakened her to their plight. She wants to help lessen, if not totally eradicate the stigma against them to ensure their safety while exercising their equal rights and privileges as human beings.
Niña is also an advocate of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), especially those who are repatriated for reasons beyond their control. She plans to push for the creation of a center that will offer hotel-like services for the distraught OFW and their family to help them recover from the trauma of their experiences abroad.
Niña also seeks to pass a law that will strengthen the national government’s program on poverty alleviation. She sees that a collaboration between local government units (LGU) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) by way of technology and livelihood training in the communities, can empower the out-of-school-youth and the plain housewives and make them more productive.
Even before being known as a Tulfo co-anchor, Niña is a highly competent professional with years of experience in management and leadership across multiple sectors. She possesses excellent interpersonal skills and is eager to be challenged in order to grow. She has genuine interest and compassion in people that makes her an effective public servant because she serves from the heart.
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