"What's Inside" this month's edition of 5 Questions from Over the Pond, you ask? Well, we've decided to serve up a slice of mouth-watering, transatlantic pie to celebrate the two current leading ladies of the West End and Broadway productions of the hit musical Waitress!
Ever since the story of Jenna - a talented pie-maker, stuck in a dead-end waitressing job and a loveless, abusive marriage - crossed the pond and began performances at London's Adelphi Theatre on 8th February 2019, audiences have been enthralled by her journy of discovering her self-worth and emancipation. Equally appealing is the gorgeous, original score penned by seven-time Grammy Award nominee Sara Bareilles, which provides the actress playing Jenna a generous helping of musical numbers to master. From playful, upbeat numbers such as "Bad Idea" to heart-wrenching anthems like "She Used to Be Mine" or blissful ballads like "You Matter to Me," the role is a gift from the musical gods and requires the crème de la crème of vocalists to do it justice.
Originating the role of Jenna in the West End premiere is Katharine McPhee, who found fame back in 2005 as a contestant on "American Idol" and won over the hearts of Broadway fans in 2012 after landing the role of Karen Cartwright in the Broadway-centric musical series "Smash". Katharine came to London to make her West End debut less than a year after making her long-awaited Broadway debut in the New York production at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April 2018, already an expert in the theatrical kitchen. She is scheduled to play her final performance as Jenna on 15th June, so hurry up and get your orders in before this waitress hangs the apron up for good!
On the other side of the pond, Broadway favorite and acclaimed recording artist Shoshana Bean is currently "Opening Up" as Jenna until 7th July 2019. Not only can this talented performer boast about being the first-ever replacement as Elphaba in the Broadway sensation Wicked, but her latest album "Spectrum" also landed on the top spot of the Billboard Jazz Charts in the States!
As these two phenomenal ladies are slowly coming to the end of their respective London and New York shifts, we've decided to pair them up for this Waitress-themed edition of 5 Questions from Over the Pond (and evidently, 5 questions just wasn't enough for Shoshana!)... So, let's find out what baking has done for Katharine McPhee and Shoshana Bean...
Here are the questions from Broadway's current star Shoshana Bean for London's Katharine McPhee:
1. Shoshana: What is the biggest lesson Jenna has taught you?
Katherine: That being a dreamer and a believer will always carry you through the hardest of times. Even if the belief in yourself seems so small.
2.Shoshana: What's your favorite moment in the show?
Katharine: Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the show yet!!! Spoiler alert!!! My favorite moment is telling Earl that she doesn’t love him anymore.
3. Shoshana: Have you noticed a difference between the way US and UK audiences receive or respond to the show?
Katharine: In some shows I’ve mainly noticed that the audiences can be a little quieter here but really for the most part no. Most audiences are really vocal and audibly enthused.
4. Shoshana: Besides getting married (yyyeeeee!!!!) what is coming up next for you when you depart Waitress?
Katharine: I’m taking some time off to travel through Europe. First to Greece but then through Italy. Italy is my favorite place to travel!
5a. Shoshana: What, if anything, was or has been the biggest challenge in learning the show or in doing the run of the show?
Katharine: Really for me it was just learning it. The props on props on props. But after that it’s just the fun part of constantly discovering something new in each show.
5b. Shoshana: Do you have a favorite most precious memory on or offstage associated with your time in the show?
Katharine: When the cast and crew surprised me with a bachelorette party! It was so incredible and such a surprise! From my understanding the whole cast was involved decorating my room and it just made me feel so, so special. It’s just a lovely group of people.
5c. Shoshana: Jenna uses baking as a means to escape her reality... what are some of your personal 'escapisms'?
Katharine: My imagination. Similar to Jenna. I am constantly daydreaming.
5d. Shoshana: What are some other Broadway roles you'd love to play?
Katharine: I’d love to originate something, so not sure what that will be. But if I could do another show that’s on Broadway right now, I’d probably want to play Elphaba. Just like you did, Shoshana!!!!
Check out Katharine McPhee's questions for Shoshana Bean on our New York Theatre Guide sister site here!