Al Roker as Joe and Jordin Sparks as Jenna in Waitress

Al Roker sets Broadway return to Waitress, as Jordin Sparks extends her run

Roker will reprise the role of Joe for a limited engagement at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre from November 1 through November 24, 2019, whilst Jordin Sparks also extends her limited run in the hit musical through November 24.

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Checking in for a second shift at the diner will be NBC's "TODAY Show" star Al Roker, as producers confirm that the popular TV personality will reprise the role of Joe in Broadway's hit musical Waitress at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Roker will play a limited engagement from November 1 through November 24, 2019.

Mr. Roker is best known as the weather and feature anchor on NBC's "TODAY Show." He is the recipient of 7 Daytime Emmy Awards and since 1985, he has worked as a co-host of various NBC specials, as well as the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Rose Bowl Parade. He previously made his Broadway debut in Waitress in October 2018.

In addition, producers also confirmed that current star and "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks has extended her stay at the diner and will now play her final performance on November 24, 2019. The Grammy Award nominee began performances as leading lady Jenna on September 16 and was originally scheduled to remain with the production through October 27, 2019.

Ms. Sparks shot to fame after winning the sixth season of "American Idol" in 2007. She has released three studio albums to date - Jordin Sparks in 2007, Battlefield in 2009, and Right Here Right Now in 2015 - and even received a Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for her celebrated duet with Chris Brown, "No Air." She made her film debut in 2012 opposite Whitney Houston in "Sparkle" and made her Broadway debut as Nina Rosario in Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights in 2010.

The current principal cast of Waitress also includes Mark Evans (as Dr. Pomatter), Natasha Yvette Williams (as Becky), Caitlin Houlahan (as Dawn), Ben Thompson (as Earl), Tony Award nominee Larry Marshall (as Old Joe), Benny Elledge (as Cal), and three-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (as Ogie).

Waitress officially opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24, 2016, following previews from March 25, and is now scheduled to close on January 5, 2020, as previously reported.

Waitress is the first Broadway musical in history to have four women in the four top creative team spots, with a book by Jessie Nelson, a score by seven-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.

Synopsis: "Based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly, the musical follows Jenna - a waitress and expert pie maker stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, Jenna fears she may have to abandon the dream of opening her own pie shop forever... until a baking contest in a nearby county and the town's handsome new doctor offer her a tempting recipe for happiness. Supported by her quirky crew of fellow waitresses and loyal customers, Jenna summons the secret ingredient she's been missing all along - courage."

The creative team features scenic design by Scott Pask, costume design by Suttirat Larlarb, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind and sound design by Jonathan Deans.

Waitress is produced on Broadway by Barry & Fran Weissler and Norton & Elayne Herrick.

Waitress Tickets are available now for performances through January 5, 2020.

(Photos courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown)


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