Sometimes you take a job and it turns out that you’re making history. That’s what happened when Lorin Latarro took the job as choreographer for the musical WAITRESS. It’ not until into the process that the team finds out they making history as part of an all-female creative team with this show including original music from Sara Bareilles, and directed by Diane Paulus.
With ingredients like that it is no surprise that it went one to get 4 Tony Nominations, and land a Tony for Sara Bareilles!
WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna, a waitress in a small town diner who is married to her abusive husband Earl. She finds solace in her baking and making of spectacular pies, and finds her life becomes more complicated when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, and meets her new doctor, Dr. Jim Pomatter. Could an upcoming a pie contest and its grand prize ne her chance for a better life?
While she was in town working (she choreographed THE HEART OF ROCK AND ROLL at The Old Globe earlier this year) I was able to chat with Lorin about working on this musical, and what make it so irresistible – like those pies Jenna is always baking.
What was it like learning you were part of the first ever all-female creative team on Broadway?
We had no idea. But we worked really hard and had a really good time together. It was a really collaborative room and director more importantly, my collaborators, Diane Paulus, Sara Bareilles, and Jesse Nelson, are at the top of their respective fields as artists.
What is it like to work with and choreograph to music by Sara Barielles music, since it’s not what some would consider the typical show tune?
The work remains the same as a choreographer, if you have a song that four and a half minutes long, you still have to fill it. So the work remains the same, it’s just stylistically it’s different. But it is not easier or harder than doing it to a Cole Porter musical. In fact, sometimes I think that’s harder because there is a formula to doing a classic musical theatre piece.
As choreographers we have a history of Anges Demille, to Bob Fosse, to Michael Bennett, to look back on and build upon. With Sara’s music it deserved a something different. It didn’t want that, it didn’t need that; it was an anathema to what her music is. Her lyrics are intricate and intelligent and the melodies are stunning. In our show people sing the way people sing on the radio today. I approached it in a psychological way, what was she thinking about? What was her day dream about? And let’s put that on stage; it’s really an interesting thing to be a part of.
Latarro finds that this approach has been a growing request in her works, and one she finds as a interesting challenge to accept.
As a dancer on Broadway I danced the bug musicals, FOSSE, KISS ME KATE, MOVIN’ OUT, and WONDERFUL TOWN. As a dancer on Broadway for many years I danced all the big ones, and it’s interesting as a choreographer that I keep getting asked to do the work that is a little more physical theatre and interesting and story driven. What I’m really interested in moving forward is integrating both skills, and finding new musicals to integrate it in a seamless way.
Why do you think this show has resonated so much with people?
It’s a show from a female protagonist’s point of view, and it’s refreshing and fun.
A musical with a history making team, with great music and choreography and it features pie! What are you waiting for? Get your tickets before this sweet confection is sold out.
WAITRESS is playing at Broadway San Diego from November 27th to December 2nd. For show time and ticket information go to www.broadwaysd.com