After a sold-out run at Boston’s American Repertory Theater, Waitress makes is about to make its highly anticipated Broadway premiere. ‘Waitress’ choreographer, Lorin Latarro, graciously took time to answer questions about ‘Waitress’, and the enduring appeal of this quirky and delicious story.
Lorin Latarro recently choreographed Broadway’s Waiting For Godot with Sir Patrick Stuart and Sir Ian McKellen, Ira Glass’s This American Life: 21 Chump Street at BAM for Michael Mayer and Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Odyssey at The Delacorte for the Public Theater, Queen Of The Night (DramaDesk Award), Beaches The Musical at Drury Lane.
As a performer Latarro was in 14 Broadway shows including lead roles in Fosse, Swing, A Chorus Line and Movin’ Out, and toured internationally with companies Twyla Tharp, Martha Graham and
MOMIX. She was a Dancebreak recipient, works with The Gates Foundation on art and medical missions in Africa and India, and is the founder of Art=Ammo, Artists Against Gun Violence as seen
on PBS, CNN, Rachel Maddow. Latarro holds a BFA and is an adjunct professor at The Juilliard School.
Waitress features original music and lyrics by 5-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland).
Tony winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful) is Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker in a small town who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.
Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s hit film, Waitress celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.
Waitress is at Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Broadway previews begin March 25th. Buy tickets HERE.
Francis Xavier: Congratulations on the new production of ‘Waitress’ how did you come to be involved with the show?
Lorin Latarro: I met with Diane Paulus a few times and discussed the project, then put choreography together for her and the rest of the creative team to see. Over time, we found that we saw the movement of the show heading in the same direction.
FX: What have been the biggest challenges/surprises you’ve come up against while developing the choreography for ‘Waitress?’
LL: Getting the physical life deeper than passing plates and serving pie has been my goal. My interest is our lead character’s inner struggle. Her psychology. We have worked hard to make the numbers and baking moments about important things. The story at the surface, is about a woman who loves to bake, but the baking itself is less interesting to me than the fact that why she spends so much time focused on baking, is to avoid her own life and feelings.
FX: Can you describe collaborating with the creative team on ‘Waitress’ and what makes for a successful collaboration?
LL: Diane Paulus leads our creative team with openness. It is a room of collaboration and kindness. Everyone on the team is at the top of their respective fields.
FX: Adrienne Shelly’s movie ‘Waitress’ came out in 2007, how has time affected the story, if at all and has the story’s meaning/themes changed for you since you first saw the movie?
LL: The topics of the movie are still very relevant. Personal courage to leave a bad situation, growth, and lasting friendship all resonant just as much today.
FX: Variety described ‘Waitress’ as a “potential crowd pleaser” what elements in a story lend itself to mass appeal?
LL: First of all, the music is just stunning. If you hear a song once, you will never forget it. Secondly, the show is not only poignant, but very very funny! Lastly, it is simply a well-crafted musical.
FX: What can audiences and fans of the movie expect from this production?
LL: Our writer Jesse Nelson stayed true to her friend Adrienne Shelley’s book.
FX: Can you describe your creative process? Does the choreography come to you while reading a story/source material, or does it evolve over time?
LL: I start by reading the story closely, then listening to the music over and over again. I try to approach it textually and simultaneously find the emotional state the character is in an physicalize it. If the movement comes out of the character’s state of being, either on surface or underneath, then the number choreographs itself quickly.
FX: What other projects do you have planned for 2016?
LL: I am choreographing Encore’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater with director Michael Mayer and choreographing The Public’s Twelfth Night at the Delacorte for Kwame Kwei-Armah.
FX: Best opening night memory?
LL: Winning the Gypsy Robe in A Chorus Line.
FX: Three things you cannot live without?
LL: Family, Books, Vacations.
FX: Where can readers find you and your projects online?
LL: I just gave in and joined twitter and my websites: latarro.com for work related info and my organization of Artists Against Gun Violence.