Waitress, based on the 2007 movie of the same title, follows the story of Jenna, a woman who longs to escape the life she’s trapped in. Alongside her friends and her handsome new gynaecologist, she begins to step towards the dreams she’s always harboured. Since taking the West End by storm, Waitress is now delighting audiences across the country. Evelyn Hoskins plays Jenna’s lovable friend Dawn who’s looking for love of her own. Evelyn spoke to us about taking the show on the road and how the pandemic changed her portrayal…
If you were telling someone who knows nothing about Waitress to see the show, how would you sum it up?
It’s the most joyous, hilarious, heartwarming, life-affirming, beautiful show you could possibly see, especially if you’re a woman!
Is there a song in Waitress that makes you particularly emotional?
Definitely A Soft Place to Land. It’s the song before they sort of glow-up Dawn a little bit before her date and it’s just beautiful. The harmonies are stunning.
You’ve had a kind of different experience with Dawn because you played her pre and post-pandemic. What was it like originally creating your version of Dawn and do you think she’s changed since you’ve come back to the show?
She’s definitely changed. I saw the original Broadway cast of Waitress in 2016 so I saw Kimiko Glenn play Dawn and Kimiko and I both played a role called Thea in Spring Awakening so we’re obviously similar castings anyway. But I think I was definitely influenced by Kimiko’s portrayal because that was my first impression of Dawn.
My portrayal has changed since the pandemic, for sure. I mean, more so because I just feel older if I’m honest; and also I’m more grateful to be here. I was grateful anyway because it’s such a dream show and job of mine but now I feel super grateful.
When you were doing the show at the Adelphi, were you already booked to do the tour?
No, I wasn’t. The resident director had kind of asked me if I’d be interested but at the time I was due to do six months in the West End so I was a bit like “I don’t know, maybe, I’ll see how I’m feeling” cause obviously a year is a long time. And then when the show closed in the West End, the producers were very kind and asked all of us if we’d be interested and I was like, yeah, because I didn’t feel done with her at all. I’d barely touched the surface so I’m so glad to be doing it.
How was it when you reopened, did you find it emotional?
Yep! I think I was more emotional on the first day of rehearsals when we did a full read and sing through first thing on the Monday morning. Obviously I hadn’t heard the music since the last show so that was super emotional. Also putting on the little waitress dress again!
You know, when we closed it was so uncertain and the tour got pushed back and pushed back, and we didn’t know if it would actually ever happen so it’s so good to be back!
So far, have you noticed any differences between touring the show and playing on the West End?
It’s very interesting to see the different reactions, I don’t know if I could pinpoint what they are though but Northern audiences have been PHENOMENAL, very very loud!
We’re in Bristol this week which I’m super excited about because it’s near my home town and it’ll be great to get to Woking and then we’re in Bromley so we’ll have some more London audiences. But it’s just a really great show to take around the country and make accessible to people.
Definitely, and here compared to the US, people don’t know the film as much so it’s more of a word of mouth show which must be lovely…
Yeah! Honestly I was really surprised at the reaction. We’re sold out most Saturdays and the audiences have been incredible. We also have some very loyal fans and we often see familiar faces most weeks. I think once you’ve seen the show, if it connects with you, you do get a little bit hooked on it!
That’s so lovely, I’m coming to see it with my mum who’s very excited!
I think it’s a phenomenal show to see with your mum! Bring the women in your life because it’s got such girl power.
Leading on nicely, I wanted to know why you think having a female led show like Waitress tour the country is so important?
The themes of the show are so important. There’s the domestic abuse theme which really strengthens the message and importance of female friendship and female support.
I also think it’s important that we start recognising that the other relationships in our life are just as important as the romantic ones and that’s something this show does.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring performers?
Believe in yourself. That sounds super cliched but it’s true. My personal experience is not like a traditional one. I’m from quite a working class background. I didn’t grow up with lots of money which obviously would help you if you wanna go to drama school. But, I didn’t do drama school.
So it’s really about the hustle. Just hustle hard. If you really like an actor’s performance, find out who they’re represented by. Reach out to them and say I really like your client, I feel like I would be a good fit for you too. Same with casting directors, if you really enjoy a show and think it would be something you could do, write to them, tell them how much you like the show, just put yourself out there. And don’t feel like drama school is the be all and end all!
Thank you so much to Evelyn for taking the time to chat to me. Waitress runs at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking from 14th to 19th February before continuing its tour.
Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor
INTERVIEW: @EvelynHoskins chats to @RewriteThisWeb about returning to @WaitressUK’s diner on tour post-lockdown. #WaitressTheMusical #WaitressUKTour #musicaltheatre