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“WAITRESS,” presented by Shea’s will feature two local actresses

Making their professional stage debut next week will be two young local actresses who were selected to play “Lulu” in upcoming production of “WAITRESS.” The Tony nominated musical WAITRESS, will be at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre from February 6 to 11, 2018.

“Isabella Maritato and Sophia Vandette will alternate the role of “Lulu,” the daughter of the production’s main character, Jenna. WAITRESS tells the story of “Jenna,” an expert pie baker working at a local diner who is confined to a loveless marriage. Her salvation comes in the form of her daughter, “Lulu.”

More than 40 young girls turned out for the local auditions, which were presided over by members of the WAITRESS company. In each tour stop, the character of “Lulu” is cast locally and two girls are chosen to share the role, each actress will perform in four performances each during the engagement.

Sophia Vandette is 5 years old, this will be her first professional performance. Sophia began dance lessons at the age of 2,  and has been performed in several dance recitals. Most recently, she performed on stage at the Academy of Theatre Arts. “I really like to be in front of a crowd of people and feel so proud when I’m on stage,” said Sophia. When asked if she was excited or nervous about performing in WAITRESS, she exclaimed, “I’m Excited!” According to her mother, Danielle, “She’s been practicing her lines, dance steps, and the soundtrack has been on repeat.” When she’s not busy dancing, Sophia participates in gymnastics, plays t-ball and skis.

Isabella Maritato, is 5 years old, WAITRESS will be Isabella’s debut on a professional stage. Isabella started dancing at Storybook ballet at 3 years old and is in her second year at Academy of Theatre Arts. Recently she attended The Nutcracker and Disney’s The Little Mermaid shows at Shea’s Performing Arts Center with her parents, Cass & Anthony, where she whispered, “one day I want to be on that stage!” When she found out she was chosen to play Lulu, she said, “my wish came true!” Her parents added that Isabella is, “Inspired by the dancing she sees in Disney movies, Isabella and her little sister pretend the one area of the room is their stage and choreograph their own little moves.  The dancing is almost always accompanied by singing- rarely is the house not filled with sweet songs by Bella!”

There’s only a short window to catch these rising Buffalo star’s – Check out WAITRESS at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14202 from February 6 – 11, 2018.

For tickets, visit or call the box office 716-847-0850.

Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, WAITRESS is an irresistible new hit featuring original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (“I Am Sam”) and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Finding Neverland, Pippin, Hair).

Inspired by Adrienne Shelley’s beloved film, the musical tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage.  A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness.  But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

“It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!” raves the Chicago Tribune.  “WAITRESS is a little slice of heaven!” says Entertainment Weekly and “a monumental contribution to Broadway!” according to Marie Claire. Don’t miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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