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First mother, then daughter: In ‘Guys and Dolls,’ Adelaide becomes a family tradition for Mallory Parker

You don’t have to look far to see where Mallory Parker, who plays the lead role of Adelaide in the Good Company Players production of “Guys and Dolls,” got her inspiration for auditioning for the part.

Her mother, GCP veteran Paige Parker, played the same role in a special production at San Joaquin Gardens in 2008.

Pictured above: Randy Kohlruss and Mallory Parker play Nathan and Adelaide in ‘Guys and Dolls.’ Photo: Good Company Players

Mallory, who was 9 at the time, would tag along at rehearsals, absorbing the songs and storyline. She didn’t realize at the time she’d be the “next” Adelaide. Sweet story, right?

In a time of Covid-19, it’s been a major challenge to open “Guys and Dolls” and keep the cast omicron-free. The show was first postponed a week and then delayed an extra couple of days. (It runs through March 13 at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater.)

But for Parker, that’s all behind her now, and as she embraces the role of Adelaide, this weekend is a wonderful time to experience her take on the role.

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Here’s our discussion:

Q: First of all, Mallory, I can’t help but notice that your email address prominently includes the numbers 5678. And now I can’t get that song from “A Chorus Line” out of my head — “Let’s do the whole combination facing away from the mirror. From the top! A-five, six, seven, eight!” So, was your email choice just an easy-to-remember number combination, or a towering tribute to musical theater?

A: It is most definitely a theater tribute! But it also helps that it’s easy to remember.

Q: Your first exposure to “Guys and Dolls” was when you were a little girl and your mom, the well-known GCP performer Paige Parker, appeared in a production. What are your memories of hanging around that show?

A: That is one of the first shows I can remember seeing and thinking, Oh I want to be in this show. I also remember meeting so many people during that time. That was my first time meeting George Akina where he played Nicely Nicely Johnson. He had made my mom a mini version of her script with just her lines in it and that is something that my mom has carried on with shows that she does now and it always makes us think of him. My brother and I would sit and watch it and sing along and quote lines from it. I don’t remember too many specific details from that show since it was over 10 years ago, but I remember the music being amazing and it was such a fun show to watch and I think it really sparked my interest in theater.

Q: I understand your brother, Sterling, had quite an attraction to the show as well. Spill the beans on his boyhood preoccupation with shooting craps.

A: Yes! Sterling was (and is still) such a character. He loved that show so much that when we would go to watch it he would come dressed in his own little suit and fedora with a set of dice ready to shoot craps with the rest of the guys! I would say that this show is one that he still loves and enjoys, although the suit and fedora is questionable now.

Q: At that point, do you think you ever dreamed you’d play Adelaide?

A: After seeing my mom play Adelaide I knew that I had wanted to play Adelaide as well, but I don’t think I ever imagined that I would have the opportunity to pursue that dream. But this isn’t the first time I have played the same part as my mom. She also played the Enchantress in GCP’s production of Beauty and the Beast in 2005 and I played the Enchantress in SAC’s production in 2019. So that’s fun!

Q: Describe yourself in just three words. Would you use any of those words to describe Adelaide?

A: Driven, Outgoing and Unique. I think that Adelaide could describe herself as these as well. When she has her mind set on something she definitely continues to work at it until she has succeeded. And she is definitely an outgoing and unique person! She really marches to the beat of her own drum.

Q: One of your breakout roles was playing Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.” Let’s pretend that you’re Elle, and you take Adelaide out to lunch one day. What advice would you give her from one generation to another?

A: I think Elle would tell Adelaide to trust her gut and follow her heart more. I do believe that they are both very driven and confident women, and I think they would potentially be friends!

Q: Tell us a little more about Mallory. What’s your daily routine? Would you want to pursue theater as a career?

A: I’m not too exciting. I go to work, drink my coffee like everyone else. I do have a dog so I like to take her out on walks and to the park. I’ll go to the gym when I have time! I would love the opportunity to pursue theater as a career but rejection is hard! And something that is inevitable in the theater world. But I do really enjoy my job at Dutch Bros. so I would also love to see where that takes me.

Q: Do you think your dog, Ruby, understands why you have to be away at night during a show?

A: Oh, not at all! I always hate leaving her but I try to take her out before I leave that way she does get to get out of the house before being alone.


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Q: Here’s a fun fact about you: You’ve been skydiving. Was it fun or terrifying? Did you sing anything on the way down?

A: Definitely both. It didn’t hit me that I was actually jumping out of the plane until I watched the person in front of me jump and I saw them fly out. But I did have “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw stuck in my head the whole time!

Q: Anything else you’d like to say?

A: I am incredibly thankful to be getting back on stage and in a dream role nonetheless! Our cast and crew is absolutely amazing and I have loved getting to know them and work with everyone. I just really hope people come out to see our show! It’s a classic with great music and it’s a fun time to escape the scary world we live in now.


 

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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