Coming to the Schlesinger: Food Memories from Waitress

Photo by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff Photographer

One woman remembered making croissants in Paris with her daughter. Another recalled the “incredible” meatballs she learned to make from a man she was seeing and how his cooking won her over. “It’s all about the food,” she wrote. Another person filled an entire page of a waitress’s order book with the words “I love food.”

The American Repertory Theater at Harvard completed its run of the popular musical Waitress at the end of September, but artifacts related to the play will live on at the Schlesinger Library. During intermission and after the play, attendees wrote food memories on waitress order sheets, and the theater hung the sheets in the lobby for all to enjoy. Now these memories will be archived at the Schlesinger, joining the library’s existing collections about waitresses and food, including the interview recordings and transcripts from Hey Waitress! The USA from the Other Side of the Tray by Alison Owings (University of California Press, 2002).

The ART’s Waitress—which is headed for Broadway—is the heartwarming story of Jenna, who works in a diner, where she bakes special pies, including Kick in the Pants Pie. Stuck in an abusive marriage, she is able to escape with help from friends and coworkers and start her own pie café. Based on the 2007 movie, written by Adrienne Shelly, the play features music and lyrics by the popular singer Sara Bareilles, in her first compositions for theater.

Waitress opens at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York City on April 24, 2016.

Photos by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff Photographer


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