Diane Paulus Makes Broadway History with Waitress

December 7, 2015

Diane Paulus ’97 will be making theater history this spring with the upcoming Broadway production of Waitress. The show will be the first musical whose traditional four-person creative team is made up entirely of women, with Paulus at the helm as the director.

Waitress  is based on the 2007 motion picture written and directed by Adrienne Shelly. The book for the Broadway adaptation is written by Jessie Nelson, with music and lyrics by Sarah Sara Bareilles. In addition to its female writers and female director, the production has also recently added a female choreographer, Lorin Latarro.

The musical tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance to escape, Jenna must weigh her commitments against a rare shot at freedom and recognition. Her customers, co-workers and the town's handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness—but Jenna must ultimately decide for herself.

The show was produced at the American Repertory Theater in Boston this past summer, when the Boston Globepraised “the Broadway design team from the Paulus-directed Finding Neverland [for producing] the usual effortless-looking theatrical magic.”

Paulus is also a Professor of the Practice in Theater at her alma mater, Harvard University. In 2012 she was named one of Boston Magazine’s "50 Most Powerful Bostonians" and awarded the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing from the Drama League. Paulus was also selected as one of Variety’s “Trailblazing Women in Entertainment for 2014” and Boston Magazine’s “50 Thought Leaders of 2014,” and was named one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in New York" by the New York Daily News.