Part of the magic of Broadway is the inspiring originality, creativity, and intricacy of the costumes on stage. When you see shows like “The Lion King”, “Hamilton”, or “Hello Dolly”, you see vintage and modern fabrics alike flowing freely on stage adorning each and every actor under the bright lights. But not all Broadway shows dress their cast in embellished ballgowns and French couture, and it doesn’t make the costumes any less memorable. Even simple waitress uniforms can be eye-catching and an emotional part of the story.
Behind the scenes of “Waitress” on Broadway, we were given a backstage tour of Brooks Atkinson Theatre. While other shows like “Aladdin” have rooms upon rooms of space for wardrobe and HUNDREDS of props, this theatre is a smaller space, which lends the hallways to be a makeshift dressing room for anyone who’s not a lead. Considering the fact the whole cast consists of only a handful of actors, it’s not as inconvenient as it sounds, and in a fun way makes all of the nooks and crannies of the studio alive with the tone and personality of the “Waitress” story.
What “Waitress” lacks in storage space, it makes up for in talent, heart, and storytelling. “Waitress” is incredibly poignant, intelligent, and relevant, telling the story of a modern woman named Jenna struggling to make ends meet in the South. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she tries to find a way to finally leave her deadbeat husband, and both hilarity and an unexpected love story ensues. It’s a powerful story beloved by both men and women.
Amidst eight shows a week, Betsy Wolfe found the time to talk to us about playing Jenna and how she thinks her wardrobe brings her character to life.
Q&A with Betsy Wolfe
You took over the role of Jenna over the summer. How has the experience been so far?
It’s been incredible and also an evolving learning process. Stepping into the lead role in an already running show has been an experience I’ve never had before. As time has moved on, it’s been wonderful to see how my Jenna has evolved and how my character has deepened in my personal relationships with those on stage. As opposed to a rehearsal process, this growth has been realized in front of the audience every show.
You have to prep pies on stage. Was that difficult to learn? Is it hard to do that while also singing/acting?
This might sound so silly but I would say the hardest part was navigating the set-up. It was crafted for someone who was right-handed and being left-handed I’ve had to adjust a couple of things to make it easier for me and more natural! We use real ingredients so I’m constantly cleaning pie dough out of my fingernails!