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‘Waitress’ musical preceded by servers in movies, TV, music

Jessie Mueller plays Jenna in "Waitress," opening on

Jessie Mueller plays Jenna in "Waitress," opening on Broadway in April. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

“Waitress” is taking orders. Ticket orders, that is.

The new Broadway musical based on the 2007 indie movie hit about a pregnant, unhappily married diner server who falls for one of her customers is set to begin previews March 25 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre prior to its April 24 opening.

Tony winner Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful”) plays the title role and joins a long string of entertainers with apron ties who have taken on the role of waitress in movies, on television, and — sort of — in the world of music.

MOVIES

JOAN CRAWFORD For 1945’s “Mildred Pierce,” the glamorous star won an Oscar as she went from deserted housewife to hash slinger to empress of a thriving restaurant chain. Naturally, money didn’t buy Mildred happiness, though it did buy plenty of fancy dresses, cars and a well-heeled heel (Zachary Scott) to amuse her spoiled daughter (Ann Blyth).

ELLEN BURSTYN As a single mom and aspiring singer who waits tables at an Arizona truck stop, Burstyn copped an Oscar under Martin Scorsese’s direction for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (1974). The movie also spawned a successful sitcom starring Linda Lavin as Alice, and the less-successful TV spinoff “Flo.”

TELEVISION

RHEA PERLMAN As acid-tongued waitress/barmaid Carla on “Cheers,” Perlman won four Emmys by being far more efficient at delivering snappy one-liners than food and drink to her customers.

THE CAST OF “IT’S A LIVING” Applebee’s probably has less turnover with its wait staff than this sitcom did. Among those who put in shifts on the series between 1980 and 1986 were Ann Jillian, Louise Lasser, Susan Sullivan, Crystal Bernard, Wendy Schaal and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

KAT DENNINGS AND BETH BEHRS “2 Broke Girls,” rich comedy. CBS’ hit sitcom features Dennings and Behrs as wage slaves at a greasy spoon who have sweet dreams of opening a cupcake bakery.

MUSIC

THE WAITRESSES OK, so these quirky ’80s new wavers from Akron, Ohio, were waitresses in name only, but dished out the catchy hit “I Know What Boys Like” and provided the music for the cult sitcom “Square Pegs” starring a teenage Sarah Jessica Parker. The group’s greatest legacy is the holiday perennial “Christmas Wrapping” featuring the immortal lyrics “A&P has provided me / With the world’s smallest turkey / Already in the oven, nice and hot / Oh, damn! Guess what I forgot?” In case you did forget, it’s cranberries.

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