Waitress’ next Jenna and why she’s important
On Wednesday, it was announced that following Katharine McPhee’s run in ‘Waitress’ on Broadway that Nicolette Robinson would take over the role of Jenna. Nicolette will be the FIRST woman of color to take on this role on Broadway. If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting on this to happen since the show opened on Broadway. Waitress has been one of the biggest “maybes” for women of color in recent history.
I want you to think in this scenario, you walk into the waiting of an audition and you’re the only person of color there not auditioning for the token “black” role. You’ve been going in for this show for two years and the only people auditioning for the same role have been white women. Automatically, you not what they want because you don’t fit the traditional Broadway archetype of what a black performer is. Then you see this something like this and it changes your outlook completely, and that’s why this is important.
The music and story of Waitress connects and touches people across the board. so naturally, as people of color we wondered if we’d ever get to tell this story. The question wasn’t when or who but simply if until now. In Nicolette’s casting, they’ve opened the door for any woman of color to feel confident in just wanting this role. When women of color say their dream role is Jenna, no one will wonder why now because it’s a reality.
2018, has been a year of realization for Broadway. They’ve realized you can cast actors of color and they don’t have to be in the ensemble or belting to the back of the house every night.
Performers of color come in different packages just like non- POC do. And It’s okay to not sounding Jennifer Holliday and to serve smooth Heather Headley vocals, it’s okay to be different. She didn’t make this decision lightly as a mother, wife, and actor. Nicolette Robinson is about to take broadway by storm and we’re ready for it. Her run starts sept. 4th and you can buy tickets here!