Waitress at Hershey Theatre

Jisel Soleil Ayon plays Jenna, the lead character in "Waitress," as the production's national tour stops at the Hershey Theatre from Nov. 23 to 28, 2021.

The Broadway hit "Waitress," with songs from acclaimed pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, will make its way to the Hershey Theatre this week as a stop during the run of the musical's national tour.

The musical focuses on Jenna Hunterson, a waitress and pie-maker who desperately wants to get away from her abusive husband and her small town. The names of some of her pies include quips about her life, like "The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie" and the "Betrayed By My Eggs Pie."

The national tour started Nov. 9 in Louisville, Kentucky, and has shows scheduled through June 2022, including an April 13, 2022, stop at York's Appell Center. The show will run at the Hershey Theatre from Tuesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 28, with both matinee and evening performances available.

Tickets range from $25 to $88, depending on seating. All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are "strongly encouraged" to wear masks in the theater at all times, per the tour's preferences. 

The production has adult themes, and it's recommended that those who see it are at least 13 years old or above. 

Here are some fun facts about "Waitress" before seeing it this week.

1. Sara Bareilles wrote all the music and lyrics for the musical

Sara Bareilles — best known for her song that criticized the music industry, "Love Song," and her anti-bullying anthem, "Brave" — wrote the music and lyrics for "Waitress."

To celebrate Broadway's return this year, Bareilles performed a limited run as Jenna, the main character, from Sept. 2 to Oct. 17. She has played Jenna a few times over the course of the Broadway run. 

The show was on Broadway for four years, and continued after Broadway reopened. It will run until Jan. 9, 2022.

2. This tour of 'Waitress' has a local connection

Julia Rippon, the dance captain from "Waitress," is from Hershey.

"I was born and raised in Hershey, PA, by a community of dance moms and chocolatiers. So, naturally, the life of a performer was for me," Rippon says on her website.

Rippon has been part of several regional productions, including "Meet Me In St. Louis" and "Mamma Mia!"

3. 'Waitress' features Broadway's first all-woman creative team

Diane Paulus directed, Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics, Jessie Nelson adapted the play from the 2007 Keri Russell film of the same name and Lorin Latarro choreographed the production.

Paulus told Time Magazine that it took a second for the creative team to even realize they were all women, and to realize how remarkable that was.

“I’m glad it was pointed out, and it is a moment we are acknowledging,” Paulus said to Time Magazine in a 2016 interview. “But what’s important to me is that every woman is in the position on this team because they’re the best person for the job. So what does that mean? It means that women are on the top of their game.”

4. Several remarkable singers have starred as Jenna

Jisel Soleil Ayon will play Jenna in Hershey Theatre's run of "Waitress." Ayon has worked on several notable productions across the country, including Daniela in "In the Heights," Sarah Brown in "Guys and Dolls," Cosette in "Les Miserables" and many other roles.

Ayon will join the list of remarkable women who have played Jenna.

On Broadway, singers who have played Jenna include Katharine McPhee, Nicolette Robinson, Shoshana Bean, Jordin Sparks, Broadway star Ciara Renee Harper and Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles — who is playing the role on Broadway until Wednesday.

For more information about Hershey Theatre's run of "Waitress," visit lanc.news/Waitress.

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