Just how far are you willing to go to keep a promise to a friend? That is the question that playwrights Jones Hope and Wooten attempt to answer in Always A Bridesmaid, a comedy play in two acts opening Friday March 17 at the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre. Directed by Diane Rabehl and Produced by Beth Jewell.
Four lifetime friends; Libby Ruth, Monette, Charlie and Deedra make a pact at their Senior Prom to stand up at each other’s weddings, no matter what. We get a glimpse of 4 weddings set in the upstairs sitting room of the Historic Laurelton Oaks in Laurelton, Virginia.
Director Diane Rabehl cast actresses who personify their characters naturally and believably. Our lifelong buddies are Libby Ruth Ames played by Marie Steffen, the hopeless romantic in a loving and healthy marriage. Libby Ruth is the foursome’s nursemaid, cheerleader and peacekeeper. Monette Gentry played by Angel Yako is the flashy, high spirited, self-involved friend that tests the resolve of the pact by marrying too frequently for their taste. Charlie Collins played by Monica McGauley is the tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing free spirit who has little time and resolve to become married and absolutely hates wearing dresses. Deedra Wingate played by Holly Sina is the no nonsense; headstrong judge who’s seemingly rock solid marriage takes a turn for the worse.
Audiences enjoyed the passion and enthusiasm that Marie Steffen brings to the role of Libby Ruth. Libby Ruth is the rock that keeps the foursome together through some very unusual and hilarious situations. Her character is ever the optimist, nurturing to a fault and not afraid to level some tough love when it is needed. Marie was able to seamlessly transition the emotions necessary to carry off this complicated character.
Holly Sena is predictably great playing the always in control judge Deedra. Holly gives a solid performance; she is a player who acts as well when she is not involved in the dialogue as she does when she is engaged in dialogue. Audiences may remember Holly’s performance in the Spring 2013 BDACT musical Next To Normal as Diana.
Monica McGauley makes her acting debut as Charlie. But you could’ve fooled me; the dress rehearsal crowd gave her many laughs. She is poised, self-confident and has a great range of emotion to display. Charlie is exasperated by Monette’s self-indulgence, panicked at the thought of losing her independence to marriage, and defiantly confident that marriage is not for her. Not now, not ever. Kudos to Diane and Beth for casting this diamond in the rough.
Angel Yako is cast perfectly as the flamboyant, over the top, unapologetic Monette. I love characters and Monette is definitely a character. You will remember both Monette and Angel.
Speaking of characters; every wedding needs a wedding planner. Beth Anne Hyrmann has many memorable moments playing the feisty owner of Laurelton Oaks.
Katie Rohr plays the slightly intoxicated set up character Kari. She has 4 monologues to kick off each scene and in each appearance Kari is slightly more affected by the champagne in her flute glass. She handles the tongue twisters in her final monologue quite well.
Each scene is a different bridesmaid dress theme, which was beautifully costumed by Sandi Banes, Lori Gerbe and Heidi Muenchow. Crowd favorites were “revenge of the ugly bridesmaid dress” and the “French Theme”.
Earl Ritter designed the set you see in this shot. The builders, painters, and decorators are numerous to list. It takes a village behind the scenes to make a great production.
Laura Congdon is the artist for the picture hanging in the back of the set.
Stage Manager is Yvonne Amport.
The show is family friendly and well written with many good laughs. If you plan to go there are 7 performances. March 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 7:30 pm, doors open at 7:00, and March 19, 26 at 2:00, doors open at 1:30.
Tickets may be purchased on line at https://tickets.bdact.org/tickets/view-show-details.aspx?id=35
Or at Rechecks Food Pride 609 N Spring St, Beaver Dam, WI 53916 (920) 887-7675