STAGE TO SCREENS: Former "Gilmore Girl" Alexis Bledel Arrives Off-Broadway in Regrets

By Melissa Rose Bernardo
27 Mar 2012

Alexis Bledel
Alexis Bledel

If you notice more than the usual number of teen-to-twentysomething girls milling around Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway home at City Center Stage I these days, they're probably there to see Alexis Bledel.

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Apologies to Tony winner Adriane Lenox, who heads the cast of Regrets, and to young British playwright Matt Charman. But Bledel has built up quite the female fan base thanks to her seven-season run as the fast-talking, quick-witted Rory on TV's "Gilmore Girls" (2000-07), not to mention her turn as aspiring art student Lena in the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" movies — the films that prove the perfect pair of jeans are out there somewhere.

Now, after testing New York's theatrical waters with a 2011 stint in Off-Broadway's Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Bledel is part of MTC's world-premiere production of Charman's Regrets, a 1950s-set ensemble drama set on a Nevada divorce ranch; along with the aforementioned Lenox, the ensemble cast also includes Curt Bouril, Ansel Elgort, Brian Hutchison, Lucas Caleb Rooney and Richard Topol. ("Gilmore Girls" trivia! Tsopol appeared in not one but two "GG" episodes: In season 1's "The Deer Hunter," he was the waiter who served Sookie's magic risotto to a famous food critic; and in season 2's "Teach Me Tonight," he was the ER doc who tended to Rory's fractured wrist.)

Bledel's Regrets character, Chrissie, isn't there to end her marriage. She's just a local girl providing comfort — or "haircuts" — to the men during their six-week residencies. "I think Chrissie always sort of made sense to me," says Bledel. "I had a take on her that felt right." We chatted with the soft-spoken Houston-born actress — "I don't like to publicize myself," she admits — just a few days before her March 27 opening night.

Bledel in Regrets.
photo by Carol Rosegg

I don't think we're spoiling anything if we say Chrissie's not really a hairdresser. She's pretty much the hooker-with-the-heart-of-gold.
Alexis Bledel: She is. It is sort of a storytelling tradition, a character we've seen before. But she's actually a pretty incredible person. She does go through a lot in her home life and you only see a glimpse of that. And what she does — all these men are waiting out their divorces and she shows up a welcome distraction to them. While she's selling herself, she does it with this sweetness. It is the '50s. She doesn't just offer them sex. She offers them entertainment, in a way. She lives in a bit of her own fantasy. I think she probably looks up to the starlets of the time, and maybe imagines that she's in some other place to make her life a little better. And when the men spend time with her, they get to be a part of that too.

I knew about quickie Reno divorces, but I had no idea all these ranches existed, or what a big business it was back then.
AB: I didn't either. It's not something you often hear about.

Arthur Miller did that before he married Marilyn Monroe.
AB: Oh wow! I didn't know.

Can you imagine Arthur Miller living in one of those tiny cabins?
AB: He'd probably be sitting in there writing like Ben [the character played by Hutchison], getting to know the other guys.

Supposedly it's where he got the material for "The Misfits."
AB: That's amazing.



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