The review is in! Thank you to Marlys Cervantes for the incredibly kind and generous review of Always a Bridesmaid!
Hilarity at the Burford!
A Review of the Ark Valley Players 2019 Production of “Always a Bridesmaid” by Marlys Cervantes
The Historic Burford Theatre in Arkansas City, Kansas, will host four weddings, or attempts at preparing for such weddings might be more correct, for three nights beginning Thursday, March 7th, and one matinee on Sunday, March 10th. I was lucky to view a dress rehearsal, so I know you won’t want to miss the fun these four friends bring to life as they keep their promises to be there for one another at each of their weddings. If you have close friendships, you will likely see them represented in these characters.
Director Meghann Borum pulled together a cast of characters to portray the friends who promised one another the night of their Senior Prom to be in each other’s weddings. All of them. No matter what. Meghann brings experience from all facets of producing a play, both backstage and onstage, to give audiences this rollicking, fun production. You will enjoy the quality of her work once again when you see “Always a Bridesmaid.” The characters come to life.
Libby Ruth Ames, played beautifully by Kim Tadtman from the very beginning when we catch her ironing and singing to her (and not really anyone else’s) heart’s content, is the “mother” of the group, the organizer, the one who encourages all the women to keep their promises and reach for romance. Her marriage is solid, and she wants her friends to all find this same happiness in life. She lights up the stage with her flightiness as she attempts to hold the women together through the turmoil of life.
Sherry White plays Monette Gentry, the fun-loving, flashy friend who requires (and gets) much attention—from the friends and the audience. Sherry brings this self-absorbed woman to life, letting us see her strengths and her insecurities. We love her in spite of the many problems she brings to the group. Audiences will be glad Sherry and Kim both brought their many talents from Winfield to the Burford for this production.
A newcomer to the stage, Meg Smith plays Charlie Collins, a down-to-earth, outdoorsy woman who runs her own business, works with her hands, and finds that marriage may not lead to happiness for her. The fun she has onstage with this production and quirky character will hopefully lead Meg back for more.
The most serious of the friends is judge Deedra Wingate, played believably by Denise Corbett. Her normally stable life ends up having as many chaotic moments as her friends, and her ability to survive on top comes through. Denise herself had taken a break from the stage, and we hope the next one won’t be so long.
Rounding out the cast are two important and well-played characters. Crystal Layton plays Sedalia Ellicott, the owner of the venue where all of these weddings are scheduled to take place. She is the wedding planner, and no one had better get in her way. Crystal plays the character with the enthusiasm of a woman on a mission to make each wedding go off as planned and protect her reputation at the same time. Most of Crystal’s stage experience has been in Blackwell and Ponca City, but we hope to see her back on this stage in the future.
Last but certainly not least is Blanche Schmidt playing Kari Ames-Bissett, the bride the audience meets at the very beginning of the play and the daughter of Libby Ruth. Blanche does a beautiful job as a sort of narrator to move the audience through time while keeping us in the mood of the production. I won’t give away how her speeches progress because that would spoil the fun, but I’ll just say that she makes us glad to be on this ride along with her.
There are more volunteers than can possibly be named who have been part of bringing this production together, but I want to mention a few. First of all, no production comes together without the hard work of a stage manager, and Kyle Smith fills that role. Producer for the production, along with the many other jobs she fills, is Michelle Zakharov. Lighting design is by Katelynn Schulz, and sound design is by Nathan Oesterle. Costume design is by Borum and Melodie Parman, and you simply must see the show to appreciate the job they’ve done.
Production dates are March 7-9th at 7:30pm and the 10th at 2pm. Call 620-442-3045 for reservations, or purchase tickets online at arkvalleyplayers.com/box-office.
Don’t miss this Jones Hope Wooten comedy. Director Meghann Borum says, “I knew that even though this play is a madcap comedy, the realness of the characters and their friendship would ring true for so many.” Gather your friends and join these women for a hilarious evening of unexpected events and laughter. As Monette says, “That’s what friends are for.”