Who Really Made The Pies For Waitress On Broadway?

Everyone needs a creative outlet. However, few people have stress-relieving hobbies that smell as good as Jenna's — the lead character from Broadway's hit musical "Waitress" waits tables by day, and bakes delicious pies by night, mostly to blow off steam. It turns out that living with a controlling husband like Jenna's spouse Earl is no pie social, but it's nothing that a little sugar, butter, and flour can't fix (via Playbill).

Or that's how the story has gone anyway, ever since the film (written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly) debuted in 2007. According to Bon Appétit, when the film was turned into a Broadway show — with actress Jessie Mueller in the lead role, a book written by Jessie Nelson, and music and lyrics by singer Sara Bareilles — producers knew authenticity would be key to adapting Jenna's baking aplomb for a live audience. And really, there is only one way to pull off the look, smell, and sight of real pies on a Broadway stage ... which is to have real pies on a Broadway stage. 

Enter Stacy Donnelly, a former dancer in New York City and the chef behind Cute as Cake, a bakery Donnelly founded with her mother (via Bon Appétit). 

Stacy Donnelly makes Broadway look easy as pie

At age 40, Donnelly had been dancing professionally for various theater companies around New York when she had a bad fall, one from which her dancing career couldn't quite recover (via Bon Appétit). But she had already been baking cakes with her mother, a chemistry teacher, for years at that point, so she decided to open the bakery Cute as Cake and give it her full-time attention. That is, until the people at "Waitress" came calling, and invented a role Donnelly couldn't refuse: Official Pie Consultant to Broadway.

Before you know it, Donnelly was running a team of eight bakers out of a studio in, funnily enough, Hell's Kitchen. The bakers were charged with baking 32 pies a week for the show, in addition to building over 1,400 mason jar pies each week, which ushers sell to audience members in the theatre during the performance. They even make a pie specifically to be over-baked: It's filled with cinnamon and nutmeg, set on a low heat, and baked in a hidden oven off the lobby, so that theatre-goers are met with the smell of freshly baked pastries as soon as they walk through the doors. 

"A lot of the pies are from the movie, so they have actual recipes we've been able to research and put together," Donnelly told Playbill.

The ones featured on stage during "Waitress" get star treatment though, with extra sprinkles of sugar and lashings of egg wash to create a sparkle under the bright lights of Broadway. When the desserts have done a three- or four-show run, lucky members of the cast and crew get to take them home for a hero's death, and Donnelly's team gets busy baking the next batch for a starring role.