Steel Magnolias Actor Spotlight: Alesa Bryant (Ouiser)

Alesa Bryantis Ouiser

Q – Why did you decide to audition for Steel Magnolias at Parkway Playhouse this season?

A – Years ago, at Parkway, I played Shelby in Steel Mags. It has been so much fun to revisit the play on the same stage. Once, young enough to play Shelby, I am dealing with the fact that I am old enough to play Ouiser, so I am often reminded of Truvy’s line, “Time marches on and sooner or later you realize it is marching across your face.”

Q – What shows might people have seen you in before?

A – Last summer I played Ida May Combs in The Quiltmaker, which was a really fun show because I got to be onstage with some people I knew but had never performed with. At the end of last year’s season I played Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. This show was a personal highlight for me. Being an English teacher, I revere great literature, and this play is, for me, one of America’s greatest. In less recent years I have enjoyed performing in Oklahoma, Our Town, Morning’s at Seven, Walking Across Egypt, Look Homeward Angel, The Vagina Monologues, Big River, and some others that weren’t so enjoyable.

Q – How would describe a day in the life of Alesa Bryant?

A – I think I was typecast for Ouiser; now, I am a really nice person, I am not a curmudgeon (although it’s great fun to play one) but I, like Ouiser, spend all my time outdoors, working in flowers, landscaping, digging in the dirt, and my hands are “like a couple of T-bone steaks.” Although Ouiser gave “birth to the three most ungrateful children ever conceived,” I gave birth to the three most wonderful children ever conceived. To top it off, at this point in my life, my constant companion is, indeed, my dog, 150 pound Anatolian Shepherd who still thinks he can sit in my lap.

Q – What has been your favorite moment from rehearsals?

A – Rehearsals are my favorite part doing plays. We have great fun telling stories, ad-libbing lines, bonding with members of the cast, getting to know the characters, having great discussions about the content; it’s a wonderful experience to spend hours with people who love the same things I do.

Q – What is your favorite line from the show?

A – My favorite line from Steel Magnolias is Annelle’s line, “Elle.” Myra McCoury does a fabulous job portraying the nondescript, monotoned, monosyllabic  Annelle, and when someone mistakenly calls her “Annette,” she corrects them with the simple, “Elle.”

Q – What’s the #1 reason someone should see this production?

A – Come to see the show because it’s a Southern classic, it’s funny, it’s clever, it’s tear-jerking, it’s warm, and for many of you, it’s full of people you know. This show has been especially fun for me because I get to perform with a former student of mine. I taught Jenny Martin for four years of high school drama, what a treat to perform with her.

Come see Alesa and the rest of the cast of Steel Magnolias May 7-21 as part of Parkway Playhouse’s 70th Anniversary Season!

CLICK HERE to buy tickets now!

steel mags

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Parkway Playhouse, located in the Appalachian town of Burnsville, NC, is a haven of theatre talent. While people come to the mountains to get away, Parkway Playhouse is a natural gathering place to connect. Likewise, we are an extension of traditional mountain talents: singing, dancing, and, foremost, storytelling. By giving rise to energetic new voices and through a wide variety of plays and musicals, we invite our audience into experiences that are thought-provoking, adventurous, and entertaining. Together we reimagine the world in every live performance, creating dynamic conversations that last far beyond the curtain call. This blog is will feature stories, helpful information, insight and features about the performances.

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