The Playgoer: New Direction’s Always a Bridesmaid

By Molly Weeks Crumbley

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” a beaming bride tells her wedding guests. “If you really want to make him laugh, tell him your wedding plans.”

So begins Always a Bridesmaid, the upcoming comedy produced by Calvert County’s New Direction Community Theater. Kari’s (Amanda Jo Connelley) wedding speech gives way to a series of time-hopping scenes that showcase the weddings of the mother of the bride Libby Ruth (Sherry Mervine), and her childhood best friends, Monette (Julie Fox), Charlie (Candida Olney), and Deedra (Laurie Foster). The foursome had no idea what they were in for when they first pledged to be in each other’s weddings—no matter what. From their original promise (fueled by “senior prom, no dates, and half a bottle of Chianti”) to their future nuptials, the spirited Southern ladies have been draping on bridesmaid dresses for one another for decades. The audience is taken along on a fast-paced journey from wedding to wedding, each bracketed by Kari’s increasingly champagne-fueled toast.

If the scene performed at the press preview is indicative of the quality of the remainder of the play, Always a Bridesmaid will be a fast and fun romp through time, sisterhood, and plenty of mishaps and wisecracks.

To a woman, the cast is quick on its feet and full of easy-going chemistry that really does make it feel as if they have all been friends forever. Director Keith Mervine wisely keeps the eye focused on the big personalities of the characters, electing to use a simply furnished dressing parlor as the backdrop for the bridesmaids and their antics. As Candida Olney pointed out, it’s a rare and wonderful thing to find a script that has so many meaty parts for actresses to dive into. Audiences should be in for a light and enjoyable evening as NDCT kicks off its 12th season.

“Alright girls, it’s show time!” crows wedding coordinator Sedalia (Danna Blais) at the end of the first scene. “I’ll alert the troops and try to sober up the preacher.”

The run time is one hour and 40 minutes with one intermission.

New Direction Community Theater follows Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines. The wearing of masks is optional—but encouraged—for audience members.

Always a Bridesmaid runs April 1-9, FSa 7pm, Su 2pm, at the Long Beach Community Center in St. Leonard, $15 w/discounts, RSVP: or Facebook @ndctheater.