Don’t we all have a crazy uncle John? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question.) Mary à la carte, running March 22 through April 15 at the New Century Theatre, showcases “off the menu” improvisational tales from the personal history of local actress Mary Vander Leest. Playing a sassy waitress at Mary’s Home Cooking Diner, this one-woman comedy mixes an unconventional take on her family’s foibles with audience participation. The show sold out its premiere run at the Bryant Lake Bowl and has remained a top attraction on return visits.
Audience members are invited to “order” off a menu of stories and since she never knows what they are going to order, no two shows are exactly the same. If you choose the “Maple Glazed Ham,” she’ll recount her yearlong stint as the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Queen. “Brownie Surprise” is an incident involving her mother and “surprise” brownies. “Even though they’re about my family, it’s clear from the audience reactions they can relate,” says Vander Leest, a Southwest Minneapolis resident. “The energy really comes from my interaction with the audience. They’re an integral part of the show but I promise not to pick on anyone- unless the person sitting next to you gestures to me that I should!”
You know those automated answering systems so ubiquitous now when you dial a business? (“Thank you for calling TCF. Your call is important to us…”) Mary used to be the voice behind the message- come and hear her hilarious take on the world of voiceovers.
Not convinced Mary’s your cup of tea? Check out her upcoming interviews to hear more about the show.
- Friday, March 16- Live on MyTalk with Jason and Alexis at 12:30pm
- Saturday, March 17- Live on MyTalk’s the Weekly Dish at 1:15pm
- Friday, March 23- Live on Fox Morning Buzz at 9:30am