After performing in some of the musicals presented by the Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, actress Alexander Guyker says it’s an interesting change to work in “Steel Magnolias,” a production with no score.
“It’s pretty neat to go from doing one aspect [singing and dancing] to where you do more talking with each other and where there’s more focus on human relationships,” says Guyker, who plays the character M’Lynn and lives in Gaithersburg.
Way Off Broadway first presented the play in 2004 and is presenting it with a new cast and production team through March 9.
“It’s one of our most requested shows to bring back,” says director Jordan Stocksdale.
“I think it’s a show with a lot of humor, heart, drama and comedy.”
The play is about Truvy’s Salon, a home-based beauty shop in Louisiana where six friends gather to share their news and gossip.
Dolly Parton played Truvy in the 1989 movie version that also featured Julia Roberts and Shirley MacLaine.
“They talk about the major events in their lives, [things like] weddings and pregnancies,” says Guyker. “It’s their reactions to the events that happen.”
M’Lynn, a good friend of Truvy’s, is one of the salon’s regulars along with her daughter Shelby played by Melinda Renee Kinslow.
The play opens with Shelby’s pending marriage followed by her high-risk pregnancy. She has been diagnosed with diabetes.
The rest of the six-member cast includes Suzanna Fox (Truvy), Rachel Silvert (Truvy’s assistant Annelle) and two widowed friends.
One of the widows, Clairee, played by Denise Lynn Hoover, is cheerful, while the other, Ouiser, played by Genevieve Williams, is grouchy.
“It’s a show that appeals to all generations,” says Guyker about the mix of younger and older characters.
In the play, the beauty shop buddies use humor and laughter to help one of them cope with sadness and loss.
“I think what’s really fun about the show is that it’s very true to life,” Guyker says.“Even in the most serious situations, [friends] can lighten the mood and make you feel normal.”
“They deal with each other and help each other, even though they’re not blood related,”