Baking Broadway: Pie-maker brings sweet treats to 'Waitress'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- When you think Broadway, you probably think about the actors or the directors. But there is a whole team of people required to bring a show to the stage.

That's also true for the new musical "Waitress," a play that has one person dedicated to baking the show's pies.

It tells the story of a waitress looking to bake her way out of a bad marriage, and she's fond of giving her creations names that reflect her state of mind. The show's music was done by Sara Bareilles, but the food comes from Stacy Donnelly.

As the "Waitress," star Jessie Mueller knows her way around a kitchen, but baking while singing is an unsual skill that requires an unusual teacher.

"I worked with Jessie a bit, to where it felt natural for her," Donnelly said.

Donnelly is a former dancer who embraced her second passion and now believes most anybody can make a pie.

"People are always afraid they're going to mess up," she said. "But it's just food."

Her key ingredient is encouragement, and she works hard to get her trainees comfortable with crust.

Looking good enough to eat is step one, and then the next stop is the theater. There, the pie is stored backstage, ready for use at the next performance.

Back in the lobby, another pie provides the aroma of baking when theatergoers arrive. And at intermission, pies in a jar are available for sale.

"You never really give somebody a pie and they're unhappy with you," she said. "So you make people smile, and that's a good feeling."

The pie-in-a-jar represents a compromise of sorts, because the owner of the theater frowned upon the idea of selling slices because sloppy eaters might make a mess.

The musical is now open, and it is bound to keep its baker very busy.
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