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Broadway Q&A: Joey McIntyre of 'Waitress'

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |

The New Kids on the Block star on his return to Broadway

Based on the 2007 film starring Keri Russell, the hit Broadway musical Waitress includes heart-pounding, evocative songs by Sara Bareilles. In the show, Jenna Hunterson (Stephanie Torns) is a spectacular baker who makes all the pies at Joe’s Pie Diner, where she works as a waitress. She even makes creative names for them like “A Little Wild, Wild Berry Pie” and “My Husband’s a Jerk Chicken Pot Pie.” Jenna is stuck in a horrible marriage that she longs to escape. McIntyre plays Jenna’s gynecologist Dr. Pomatter who, without revealing too much, has a special connection with her. The show is about people who are struggling to be happy, despite great odds. McIntyre, who is married with three children, continues to perform with New Kids on the Block. He last starred on Broadway opposite Idina Menzel in Wicked. He was also in the original Off-Broadway production of tick, tick…BOOM! by Rent creator Jonathan Larson.

Joey McIntyre currently stars as Dr. Pomatter in 'Waitress' (Photo: Rene Cervantes)

Joey McIntyre currently stars as Dr. Pomatter in 'Waitress' (Photo: Rene Cervantes)

Among many things, Waitress is all about pies. How are your pie-making skills? 
Joey McIntyre
: My wife is the baker. She is amazing. I have never made a pie in my life. My go-to is her pecan pie at Thanksgiving. It is outstanding.

Do you remember one of the first times you were on stage? 
: I grew up four blocks away from the oldest community theater in America called, The Footlight Club, in Jamaica Plain, Boston. It is a big, federal-style building with a 200-seat theater. I didn’t know how lucky we were to grow up around that. I auditioned for Winthrop in The Music Man, and that was my first role there. At the end of the song "Gary Indiana" and the lines “My home sweet home,” I was down on one knee with my arms wide open. As the story goes, there was big applause. The audience kept clapping and I wouldn’t get up off my knee. I just held the pose. The next day, the director said, “Joseph, if you could just get up a little bit sooner tonight…”

What is the joy of stepping into Waitress?
: Growing up doing community theater, I have always had a big love for the stage. My wife and I have three kids. We were in LA for about 16 years, and then just moved back to New York. And this is one of the things that I really wanted to do. I am super grateful for the opportunity to jump in a show like Waitress. A Broadway hit is not easy to come by. And then, it is funny and heartfelt. You can see why people really have a connection to it. 

What do you love to do in New York? 
: We are close to Riverside Park and Central Park. I kind of pinch myself. It is a beautiful spot. The city is one-of-a-kind, and I have always had a love for it. I also just started biking, which, I never thought I’d be a New York biker. But it’s a great way to get around the city. I’ve got my helmet, and there are bike paths, so I take it easy. It’s awesome. 

How is playing Dr. Pomatter in Waitress
JM: It is a layered part. He is flawed, and that is something to play with. I’m certainly going to grow playing this character. This guy has worked his whole life to be a doctor. He is from Connecticut, and suddenly he’s in a town he doesn’t know. This is his life, and he is not so happy. And then he meets Jenna. I think that’s why he makes some decisions that aren’t best for everybody.

Can you talk about making your Broadway debut in Wicked
: I made my debut playing Fiyero alongside Idina Menzel who just won the Tony about a month earlier. Wicked was this massive hit. To step into a show that was a phenomenon was very exciting. I mean, any show on Broadway is pretty cool. I loved doing it. Eight shows a week wasn’t enough for me. 

You continue to perform with New Kids on the Block. Between Waitress and New Kids on the Block, what is it like to have the best of all worlds? 
: New Kids on the Block has been back together for the last 10 years, doing amazing things. We are often reminded of so many special moments we have had. And we get to make all these new moments together, go on tour, play arenas and all that good stuff. At the end of the day, it’s great to share an experience with four other guys. A lot of bands break up, for a million different reasons, and we did for a while. But unexpectedly, we got back together. You benefit so much just from plain old experience. 

What was one of the first Broadway shows you ever saw? 
: It was in my early 20s. We had our own theater where we lived and I was so involved in musical theater. We never took the trek down. The first show I saw was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Whoopi Goldberg. I love how, in her inimitable way, she makes it work and infuses her take on it. In fact, one of the first shows I remember seeing my mother in was A Funny Thing Happened on the Forum. My family was in the front row. I got to help out with a prop at the beginning of the show, and pass it to the stage manager. And just to come full circle with the story, last year, before I left LA, I played Pseudolus at the Garry Marshall Theater in Burbank.

For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in February 2019.


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