An actress who starred in Emmerdale now will take on the role of specialist pie baker, Jenna Hunterson, in the smash-hit musical Waitress.

Chelsea Halfpenny, who lives in south east London, began her acting career in the children’s television series Byker Grove.

Since then, she has featured in the British soap Emmerdale as rebellious teen Amy Wyatt, and in BBC’s Causality as Alicia Monroe.

Before the pandemic, Chelsea made her West End debut as Judy Bernly in 9 to 5 the Musical at the Savoy Theatre.

Now, Chelsea will star in Waitress the Musical, that will be running at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley from Monday, 21 February until Saturday, February 26, 2022.

News Shopper: Image credit Johan Persson Image credit Johan Persson

Chelsea says she has always been a big fan of the Waitress musical and says performing as main character Jenna is a “dream come true”.

The story follows expert pie baker, Jenna, who works in a diner with her two friends, Becky (Sandra Marvin) and Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins) and dreams of a way out of her “loveless” marriage.

News Shopper: Image credit Johan Persson Image credit Johan Persson

A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor (Matt Willis) may offer her a chance at a new life, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes to happiness.

Chelsea told the News Shopper: “It’s a dream come true to star in Waitress - I love the show and know the songs inside out.

“To sing them in the show and to sing them on my own are two very different things.

“I sort of had to unlearn them as I knew them and relearn them as they're supposed to be performed.”

As the performances have been showing for four months before Chelsea joined the cast, she had to learn the entire production without any cast members.

She added: “This is my first ever musical tour and I found rehearsals quite difficult in the beginning.

“I had to learn the production without any other cast members as I joined on my own.

“It made the first few shows very interesting as it was one of the first times I performed with the cast, but now I just feel like part of the furniture.”

News Shopper: Image credit Johan Persson Image credit Johan Persson

The cast and production team behind Waitress are travelling to a new city every week and performing every night until August.

Chelsea says she’ll be staying in her south east London flat whilst the performances go ahead in Bromley.

She explained: “Some weeks are busier than others, but I’m looking forward to seeing different cities.

“I got to see quite a lot of Bristol, but we’ve mostly stayed in city centres so far.

“It's really nice getting to visit places in the UK that I've never been to before.

“I'm looking forward to visiting Liverpool, one of the cast members is from there so hopefully he’ll show us the good places to go.”

News Shopper: Image credit Johan Persson Image credit Johan Persson

Chelsea says the way she unwinds after a performance is by chilling out, eating a slice of toast and binge watching a reality tv programme – her current favourite being Love is Blind on Netflix.

She added: “I didn't realise how much I enjoyed being home until I got here at the weekend – I’m truly relaxed when I’m in my own space.”

Chelsea says the cast members at waitress are “amazing” and have been “welcoming and supportive” since she first joined the team.

She says her favourite thing about performing is “telling a story through song” and loves to sing with other cast members.

Waitress is based on the 2007 movie written by Adrienne Shelly, with music and lyrics written by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, who appeared on the Graham Norton TV show.

Chelsea added: “I would just implore everyone to get to their local theatre and come and see us because it’s a really amazing show.”

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