Waitress' Lucie Jones, Ashley Roberts and Marisha Wallace: 'We’ve got a unique sisterhood quality'

Waitress the Musical

Following the announcement that Lucie Jones and Ashley Roberts will be joining the cast of Waitress as Jenna and Dawn respectively, we spoke to the pair about their upcoming West End performances.

We also chatted to Marisha Wallace, who currently plays Becky in the production about the cast relationships on and off-stage, as well as introducing a British leading lady to the production.

Opening at the Adelphi earlier this year, Waitress follows Jenna Hunterson, a young woman whose pie-making hobby sees her enter a competition in order to leave her abusive husband and start a new life.

Waitress is at the Adelphi Theatre.

Waitress tickets are available now.

Ashley Roberts

Audiences may know you from the Pussycat Dolls and Strictly Come Dancing where you’d perform on large tours, so how does it feel to perform on a smaller stage?

At a pop/rock concert, it’s so massive! With theatre, it’s an intimate space and you can bring people into your world. I’m excited in my adult life to get to take on the West End.

Do you think being on Strictly gave you new performance skills you can use in Waitress?

Strictly lit the fire in me to do theatre. Every week, I’d love taking on a new character, storyline and dance style where I could really tap into what the performance was about. It’s been 10 years since I performed with the Dolls, so I was excited to rekindle a new, creative passion again. It was divine timing that Waitress came about, and it’s definitely going to be a good, new adventure. 

Had you listened to Sara Bareilles much before being cast as Dawn?

Sara is so talented, I love listening to her! I saw Waitress about a month ago and I was so blown away by the production, that it’s surreal even being on the Adelphi Theatre stage right now.

How is it to work with Lucie Jones and Marisha Wallace?

They’re just great girls, and between the three of us, we’ve got a unique sisterhood quality that is very supportive of one another.

Ahead of your opening night on 17th June, how are rehearsals going?

Rehearsals are in the beginning stages at the moment, where I’m learning the script and the harmonies. But, it all kicks off in a few weeks time and I can’t wait to be on stage, singing and dancing!

Lucie Jones

There had been talk of you playing Jenna in Waitress for quite a while, was it hard keeping the news a secret?

Honestly, I’ve heard so many rumours about myself. It’s been tough as I’ve had to avoid questions from family and friends, but now I can finally say I'm playing Jenna! It was so hard to keep it a secret because I'm just so proud of myself for getting the role! 

How did it feel stepping out for your first performance as Jenna?

I was stood behind the curtain listening to Sara Bareilles’ song and it started and I thought ‘oh my god I’m doing this’. Then Sara said “sugar” and I just screamed with excitement. As the curtain came up, I quickly became Jenna; cool, calm and collected in my baking world. I was so supported and welcomed by the rest of the cast, I was not prepared for how much I’d love doing the show.

How does it feel being the first British woman to play Jenna?

It's so amazing. In recent years, I've been all over the place in touring productions of Legally Blonde and We Will Rock You. Tours have been incredible but they can be such hard work being in a different place every week. I've not been in London for years, but now I can sit in bed and think 'oh my god, I'm going to work today!' which honestly cannot be taken for granted. You’re more in control of your life when you’re in the West End.

So, you’re the final ingredient in the pie of the cast?

Haha yes! There it is!

Marisha Wallace

How does it feel to have two new cast members in the diner?

We opened in March but started in January, so to have two new members will bring a change to the show and a new energy. You can get into your grind of saying your lines eight times a week, but now we’re going to have to be actively listening to see how they respond. Lucie and Ashley will bring a new audience into the show, which is wonderful.

How does it feel having a British leading lady playing Jenna?

It’s so nice for British audiences to have a leading lady they can resonate with and root for, so by the end, the audiences are going crazy for both Jenna and Lucie. It's great to have hometown influences on stage. 

Does the cast get on well off-stage?

We are truly a family. We celebrate birthdays and bachelorettes and hang out with each other outside of the show. Everyone is like a brother and sister to one another, so we do take care of each other. We try to make sure that it’s a positive environment for everyone where you can be safe and do what you want to do. When we’re on stage, we’re not acting friendly, we really do get on!

Why should people come back to Waitress to see Lucie and Ashley?

You need to hear Lucie Jones sing "She Used to be Mine", this girl’s voice just goes on and on, my wig was gone and my eyebrows were singed. It’s also going to be great to see a different side of Ashley Roberts, meeting the actor Ashley and singer Ashley.

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