Q – Why did you decide to audition for Steel Magnolias at Parkway Playhouse this season?
A – I decided to audition as soon as I heard the 2016 season announcement! The bonds of female friendship are at the heart of this play and to have the chance to work with only 5 other women in a small cast was very appealing to me. I saw this movie as a teenager and it didn’t really have any significant impact on my life at the time, but watching it as an adult, especially as a mother, gave it a whole new meaning. I want friends like these characters in my life…even ones like Ouiser.
Q – What shows might people have seen you in before?
A – Earlier this year, I was in The Fox, an adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s novella, at HART in Waynesville. A year ago this month, I was in ACT’s A Streetcar Named Desire, as Blanche DuBois. Other favorite roles include: Violet Newstead in 9 to 5, the Musical (Parkway), Nancy in Frozen (HART), and Savannah Sprunt in Mama Won’t Fly (Parkway).
Q – Describe a day in the life of Jennifer Russ?
A – When I’m not on stage or memorizing lines, I can be found working as a Pricing Analyst for a Government Contractor in Northern Virginia (you will probably see me at various coffee shops around Asheville doing my job remotely). I’m a mom to 11-year old daughter, Abby, who is busy with theater at ACT and Irish Dancing for the Drake School of Irish Dance in Asheville. I’m also a wife to Jason, who is the owner of Fox Hill Meadery in Marshall. You may catch me in downtown Asheville delivering cases or kegs of mead to the locals.
Q – What has been your favorite moment from rehearsals?
A -This is going to sound sappy, but it’s when we all tear up at the end. When the last scene is over, we usually have a moment where we circle up and just be in the moment until someone breaks out with some funny story and lightens the mood a bit. This is what girlfriends do and I love it.
Q – What is your favorite line from the show?
A – There are SO many funny lines in this show – everyone has so many great one-liners that crack us up! My favorite funny one is from Ouiser…”He’s a real gentleman. I’ll bet he takes the dishes out of the sink before he pees in it.” But, the one line from Shelby that tugs my heartstrings is, “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
Q – Why do you think folks should come see Steel Magnolias at Parkway Playhouse?
A – It’s hilarious…and touching…and real…plus, you’ve just got to see Truvy’s outfits!