Melinda Parrett, B Street Acting Company Member who starred in Ladies Foursome and 39 Steps, returns after a two year absence to discuss her time with B Street, her time away, and her excitement for Dry Powder, and the Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts.
Melinda Parrett: (In high squeaky voice) Hiiiiiiiiiiiiyyyyyyeeee!!!!!
Sean Patrick Nill: When was the last time you were at B Street?
Spinning Into Light, the holiday show in 2015.
Where have you been?
I’ve been acting with Utah Shakespeare Festival for the past two summers, which is a six month contract in beautiful south Utah?
Lots of hiking?
Oh yes! It’s Zion country. It’s one of those contracts where you’re working, but you feel like it’s a vacation. It’s a wonderful place.
So what brought you back?
Well, I love Sacramento. It’s my hometown. My family still lives here and I love being near my family. And I love B Street, and I wanted to be a part of this new journey for them, and I’m really excited to be in the second show on the Mainstage. It’s a beautiful space for a theatre that’s deserved a home like this for a long time.
Being from Sacramento, when did you first hear about B Street?
When I was young, I did a lot of musical theatre. But one day, when I was in my 20s, I saw a show at B Street with a friend of mine… it was either Escanaba in Da Moonlight or Cloud Techtonics. I think it was Cloud Techtonics. But I remember liking the show. And so I went to college and I learned how to… you know… act. I started doing more straight plays. And I was actually hanging out with Elisabeth Nunziato one day after shooting a film of hers, and she told me that B Street was seeing actors for their upcoming play. And I auditioned.. .and… then I was in 39 Steps.
Where you played all the women?
And Amy Kelly played all the men…
(Both Melinda and Sean laugh)
And so what shows followed after that?
I came back to do Rx. And then I did Robyn is Happy with Amy and Elisabeth. That play ended with my character in a prosthetic hand.
I thought so. And then I did Elemeno Pea, Wrong for Each Other, Ladies Foursome, and Spinning Into Light. So Dry Powder is my eighth show.
Any really fond memories of those shows?
Most of them happened with Amy Kelly in the dressing room. Just being idiots in the dressing rooms taking selfies for Snapchat and Instagram. She has a whole album on her Facebook called “Amy and Melinda’s Acting Portfolio” which is just me and her being silly. There’s a lot of great memories over all the shows I’ve done.
What do you think of the Sofia?
Oh… it’s gorgeous. It’s… GOR… GEE…OUS! It’s efficient. It’s functional. It’s exactly what this theatre company has earned.
Do you miss 2711 B Street at all?
I miss the train. I’m the only company member that’ll say that. But it was another character in the play. And the way the audiences reacted to it… it was really fun. And that place taught me how to act in a different way. The intimacy was so innate that… I had to talk in a realistic way. And I’m happy that this Mainstage has that similar intimacy, it makes the shows here so real and entertaining for the audiences.
So what are the joys and challenges of performing Dry Powder?
It’s a great play. And Sarah Burgess has opened up the world of Wall Street that many Americans have never been introduced to. And Jenny, my character… she’s not a bad person, but all she cares about is winning, how she can win, and when she’ll win. I don’t think it’s about the money for her because she doesn’t do anything with it, it’s just about winning. It’s a real fun play. It’s such a play for this time. I, Melinda, needed a dramaturgy packet for the dramaturgy packet for this play. This world is not a part of my daily life, and I learned a ton, more than I ever had to for contemporary plays.
How does it feel to be a member of this acting company?
Well, it’s amazing to be included in this time for B Street. This facility is just amazing, and the energy around it is intoxicating. And it’s so rare to be a part of an acting company where you can always come back, where you are always a part of the family. It means a lot to me. It’s hard to find work as an actor consistently. And to have a company that’s always looking out for me, that’s always giving me opportunities, that challenges me, where I learn… it’s really special.
Some Fun Questions:
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Sacramento?
Lou’s Sushi. I’m a vegan…you can tell them that… and the vegan scene is getting better here in Sacramento and Lou’s offer’s vegan sushi that is… so good… and I love Pushkin’s. It’s an awesome bakery.
I know your a fan of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Who are you rooting for this season?
Monet Exchange… I’ve seen her in LA, and she’s an amazing performer. I hope she’s able to do what she does well on the show. Also Mayhem Miller. I’m a big fan.
And finally, when things go right, what do you do to celebrate?
I got to Disneyland. Even when things go wrong, I go to Disneyland.
Come see Melinda Parrett in our upcoming production of Dry Powder, opening Friday March 30th. Tickets are available online at bstreettheatre.org.