Local girls to perform in PPAC’s ‘Waitress’

Local girls to perform in PPAC’s ‘Waitress’

Two young actresses were cast to play Lulu in “Waitress” playing at PPAC May 28-June 2. Pictured with their moms are, from left, Meredyth and Bridget hope Whitty, of Glocester, and Stella and Serena Vaslet, of Lincoln.

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Performing Arts Center will present the Broadway musical “Waitress” May 28 through June 2. There’s a character in the play named Lulu. She’s the 4-year-old daughter of Jenna, the show’s main character. Because it’s not easy to travel with performers that young, the show casts Lulu locally.

Seventy-five young performers showed up for the local auditions on April 10. When the dust settled, Bridget Hope Whitty of Glocester and Stella Vaslet of Lincoln were cast as Lulu.

I met with Bridget and Stella recently at a playground in North Providence, along with their moms, Meredyth and Serena.

“Bridget came out of the audition totally convinced she would get the part,” said Meredyth. Stella, on the other hand, wasn’t so certain. “We didn’t think she’d get it,” said Serena.

The girls were asked to run and jump, and to belly laugh. “They wanted to be sure they could follow directions,” said Meredyth.

Two weeks passed between audition and casting, which had both families thinking someone else had gotten the part. Then came an email notifying them of the decision. “Bridget jumped up and down for two minutes,” said Meredyth.

To celebrate, Stella asked to go for dinner at her favorite restaurant, Hibachi, in Johnston.

“Waitress” is based on the film of the same name, and tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. The show features original music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, who has played the part of Jenna on Broadway.

Bridget and Stella will each perform in four of the eight shows that week, which opens at the Providence Performing Arts Center on May 28. Bridget will play Lulu on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and in both shows on Sunday. Stella will cover the role on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, plus a Saturday matinee.

The girls are in one scene at the very end of the show. In “Waitress,” Jenna is pregnant for most of the show. At the end, they fast forward four years to introduce her daughter, who has one line.

“It’s ‘Hi, Mommy,’” says Stella.

“It’s Mama,” says Bridget, correcting her co-star.

The moment could have gone sideways, but it didn’t, because someone walked by with a dog.

Both girls have acting experience. Bridget made her debut as Baby Sleeping Beauty at the age of 6 months, working with her mom at Kaleidoscope Theater. Stella recently appeared in “Once on This Island” with Academy Players and played young Joanna in “Sweeney Todd” at La Salle Academy. She’s also done some commercial work with Hasbro in Pawtucket.

For Serena, bringing Stella to PPAC is nostalgic. “I was with Festival Ballet my whole life. PPAC was my home.”

I asked if the moms thought they were stage moms. “Oh, I hope not,” said Meredyth.

“You are a stage mom,” said Bridget, correcting her mother.

Meredyth smiled. “I’m pretty proud of her. I thought she’d be a contender, she’s all personality.”

The Providence Performing Arts Center presents “Waitress,” May 28 through June 2. For tickets and information, call 401-421-2787 or visit www.ppacri.org .