Order Up: 5 Questions With Waitress's Newest Star, Al Roker
Roker makes his Broadway debut with a monthlong run in the Sara Bareilles musical.
"Between October 5 and November 11, you should see Waitress at least once a week." Those are express orders from Al Roker, NBC's beloved weatherman and Today Show anchor who will be making his Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated musical Waitress at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Roker will be spending the month as Joe, owner of Joe's Pie Diner and cranky guardian angel to Jenna (Nicolette Robinson), to whom he imparts words of wisdom through the song, "Take It From an Old Man." He's been busy getting his pipes up to Broadway code. But even with his new rehearsal schedule added to his Today Show duties, Roker carved out time to answer our five rapid-fire questions about his impending debut, built on a lifetime of musical-theater fandom.
1. First Broadway show you ever saw:
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Zero Mostel. I was in second grade. My mom was a big Broadway musical fan. I grew up listening to every Broadway musical soundtrack on the RCA Victor Hi-Fi in our living room. She wanted to go see Forum and she took me. In fact, if someone asked what role would you want to play in your wildest dreams, it would be Pseudolus from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
2. Favorite musical of all time:
I'd have to say Hamilton. I was there for the premiere. It was one of those things you just never forget.
3. The one song you'd most love to learn how to sing (now that you've been training your singing voice for Broadway):
Ray Charles, "Hit the Road Jack."
4. Best piece of pie you've ever eaten:
There's a place up in Yorktown Heights called Grandma's. It's a diner-slash-pie-store and they make a deep-dish Dutch apple pie — you know, with that crumb topping? But it's not the big crumbs; they're small. To get a warm version of that is about as good as it gets.
5. Best piece of advice you've ever gotten:
Willard Scott told me two things: Always be yourself because nobody can take that away from you. And never give up your day job. They fit almost any situation.