Elana Koehler / Contributing Writer
The Broadway musical “Waitress,” featuring music by singer Sara Bareilles drew packed theaters all throughout its tour. The comedic elements, emotional musical numbers, plot surrounding a small town girl who makes her way in the world and of course, the lighting and set, make the show a must-see. Jenna Barnes, a junior Theatre Production and Design major at Samford University, has taken up an important technical theatre role in the tour of the hit Broadway musical “Waitress.”
Even from a young age, Barnes has been interested in the arts.
“Both my parents are musicians and I’m a cellist and singer, so performance has always been a part of my life,” Barnes said.
She took part in her very first theatre production at age 13, which piqued her interest in theatre so much so that she became involved in the STARS theatre program at Virginia Samford Theatre for all of high school.
Barnes became involved with “Waitress” through her professor’s connection with the production manager at the Gogue Performing Arts Center in Auburn. Barnes said that her professor created a partnership between Alabama, Samford theatre and the Gogue to create opportunities for technical theatre students. Barnes explained that she and six other students were picked for this project.
Barnes detailed the many ways she helped with the technical theatre behind “Waitress.”
“‘Waitress’ is transported on five semi trucks, so first we helped with unloading the trucks. Then we all separated into our different crews and started building everything,” Barnes explained, “I worked on electrics, so we unloaded the tresses of lights, plugged them in and flew them out.”
Barnes also hung lights and ran the spotlight during the shows. With the unloading process starting at 7:30 a.m. and the show finishing at 10:30 p.m. Barnes was spending around 15 hours on each show day. For later shows, Barnes would finish her jobs as late as 2:30 a.m.
Barnes reminded me that “The tour is still happening and will be in Birmingham March 20-21 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex,” and it is sure to be great.
The Waitress tour performed in Birmingham March 20-21 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Barnes said some of her favorite songs in the show are “Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” and “When He Sees Me.” Barnes plans to pursue more work with theatre in the future.
This summer, she plans to work as an Assistant Stage Manager for the South Eastern Theatre Institute and work on “She Loves Me” and “Drowsy Chaperone.” She has also worked for Disney Entertainment and plans to return to the company after she graduates.
For those looking to get involved in theatre, Barnes recommends The Underground Theatre, the One Act Festival and the Ten Minute Festival at Samford University.
“These are great opportunities for anyone looking to begin getting involved with Samford Theatre,” she said.
Barnes also suggests looking outside of Samford because there are many opportunities in the Birmingham area including Red Mountain Theatre Company, Virginia Samford Theatre and the Birmingham Festival that would be great for those looking to become involved.