Anyone who's ever been in a room with Allie Darden knows she lights the place up like a lovely stained glass lamp from Tiffany's. She is always polite and well mannered, hilariously funny and sincere as a puppy dog's eyes. It's no wonder she is in demand for roles a plenty, she sings, she acts, she dances, she can be happy without making you sad ... and that's just a smattering of Allie's gifts. Once you see her perform, you have to see her perform again. She is simply a delight, as is her husband Bob Singleton, who seems to be always working on three or four projects at the same time and pulling it all off swimmingly well.
So you can imagine how pleased I was when I heard Allie Darden was playing the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, and that Bob was directing. I sheepishly asked her why she wanted to audition for this play, which opened Thursday at Studio Players to great acclaim. Allie smiled and replied, "Well hmmm.....let's see, oh I don't know, because it's "THE GRADUATE" and it's MRS ROBINSON! lol! Seriously, this a dream part for a woman in my age range! When I was younger, I always played the ingenue , or the showgirl, and I always said that I couldn't wait until I got a bit older so that I could play those juicy parts, and this was always one of those dream roles. I'm so thrilled to be able to make this a reality!"
|Paula Schrecker, Kimmy, Kathy Jones, and her fabulous husband,|
Greg Jones, and supercouple Allie Darden & Bog Singleton
Darden's last performance in a play was in the fall, where she played Veronica in On the Verge's production of God Of Carnage, directed by Ave Lawyer. "Veronica had to be in control, just like Mrs. Robinson, but that's where the similarities end. Mrs. Robinson is known as this sexy role, and she is a sexy lady, but she is a very damaged woman and that comes out in the second act. She has a lot of resentment at the direction her life took. Her sexuality is what this character is known for, but there is so much more depth and darkness to her. I find myself feeling a lot of compassion for her. She looks at her daughter and sees all of the opportunities that she never had. It's actually kinda sad. But don't get me wrong, the hot scenes are very fun to play," she laughs.
|Kimmy and Alex Maddox|
She tells me her favorite part "is probably the opening scene, where I first try to entice an unsuspecting Benjamin. I also love the hotel lobby/ room scene. It's fun to play this woman who is so in control, with sex on the brain, with this young man who is so nervous and unsure of things, yet he won't say no."
Her co-star is the wonderfully cute and talented Alex Maddox, and Allie is his fan as well as the rest of us who've seen him perform. "Okay seriously, Alex Maddox is a genius. I've said this many times, and I mean it: he has an incredible gift. This is my third show with Alex, and I love him more with each production. It's also great to be working with someone that I know so well and that I trust completely. This would be a much more challenging experience to play a role like this with someone who wasn't as professional as Alex."
|Bob Singleton in Studio Players' Run For Your Wife|
in which he co-starred with Allie for
With accomplished director and actor Bob Singleton directing the Studio Players production, it's always interesting to see what he does with scripts. He finds nuances that make it more believable, will go to great effort to bring a play to life. I remember his work with Sharon Sikorski and a very kind lady who was blind for Sharon's role in Wait Until Dark at Studio Players. He had planned the meeting of the two months before, when he was appearing in Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol. Last year, he and Ms. Darden were wed, and they are indeed the power couple in Lexington's theatre community, though they would never say that themselves (which is why I'm saying it :) Of course, Allieloves working with him. "I mean, he's incredible. So hard working, so warm and dedicated to his craft. He takes chances, and risks, and he puts such meaning behind every single thing. If you see a vase on stage, it was purposefully put 'there' at 'that angle' with 'that shadow'.........it all works towards the big picture. He loves theatre with his entire being. Whether he is acting, directing, producing, etc., this is his heart, blood, sweat, and tears. This is the my third show where he has been my director, and I find myself more in awe of him every time."This time last year Allie was shooting the movie version of Checking In, the play that opened at Actors Guild under Rick St. Peter's direction. Playwright Hampton asked Allie to return as her role in the original staging and she traveled up to Atlantic City or somewhere close thereto, and the film was shot within just a few weeks. To update us on all that, she says, "The movie is completed, and I received my copy a few months ago. I was thrilled with how it turned out! Brian Hampton will be submitting it to film festivals very soon. He's super busy with other exciting work (his show The Jungle Fun Room is about to hit the stage in NYC, and he just finished a book, so he's kind of got his hands full at the moment). I wanted to have a viewing here in Lexington of Checking In the movie, but it's not really allowed to have a public viewing before you submit to festivals, so we're holding on that for the moment. I'll keep everyone posted on what happens next. It was a wonderful, exhausting, new experience for me."
Where is she going now, what's Allie Darden up to next? "I was just thinking about that a couple of days ago...last summer I flew to New Jersey to film Checking In, a couple of summers ago I flew to NYC to do Checking In at the Midtown International Theatre Fest, and a couple of winters I flew to NYC to perform Checking In as a staged reading. This is the first summer where I have nothing on my agenda, and I'm planning to enjoy the free time! Maybe take a little vacay.....not sure yet. Life is crazy, ever-changing, and always exciting! I'm not one of those people who freaks out if I'm not doing a show. I value my down time as much as I do my busy time. There is room for both. Right now though, I'm consumed with The Graduate. I hope everyone comes to see it and enjoys it. As Bob says 'this ain't yo mama's Graduate.' And he's right!"
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See you at the play,