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Mary Beth Evans: Wedding Belle

The daytime drama superstar tries her hand at comedy in a Los Angeles production of Barbra's Wedding.

Wilson Green and Mary Beth Evans
in Barbra's Wedding
(© Jennifer Blevins)
For 25 years, Mary Beth Evans' name has been synonymous with the words "daytime drama" thanks to her roles as Kayla Brady Johnson on NBC's Days of Our Lives, Katherine Bell on ABC's General Hospital and Port Charles, and Sierra Montgomery on ABC's As The World Turns. Now, she's trying her hand at comedy in a Los Angeles production of Daniel Stern's play Barbra's Wedding at the Blank Theatre.

"This is so much fun after all my years on daytime. In my heart, and in real life, I think I am a funny person," says Evans. "I left Days again last February, and then I did some episodic television. But I really wanted to do a play. Television is so fast-moving, and I wanted to really work on a piece and be able to try different things. In daytime, you memorize your lines, show up, and then work on instinct. The one funny thing is that I used to memorize pages of scripts every day, and for some reason, it took me 22 days to memorize this script."

The play concerns a married couple in Malibu who live next door to actress Barbra Streisand. When they don't get invited to her wedding -- and chaos takes over their neighborhoods -- the husband, an unemployed actor (played by Wilson Green), gets incredibly upset. "I know people like this couple and I understand people like them, although they're not like me," she says. "However, I've been married to my husband for 24 years, and we were together for five years before that; so I know what being in a long marriage is like and how things can gnaw at you and irritate you and how there can be explosions when things have not been addressed."

Naturally, Evans also knows what a big Hollywood wedding is like. Or does she? "We've never been invited to that kind of celebrity wedding," she says with a laugh. "We have a very suburban life. We don't hang out with actors. My husband is a doctor, and we don't even hang out with doctors. We spend time with the friends we have always had."

The actress is also happy when possible to meet her many fans. "There were these nine people who were huge fans of mine from Days who came to all three performances the first weekend," she says. "They're all good friends, and they come from all over the country to get together. And they're busy people -- one's a lawyer, one's a high-ranking military lady -- so I really appreciate their efforts to support me. I have to say, I don't think I would go across the country just to see someone whose work I like."

For much of her daytime career, Evans was paired onscreen with her good friend Stephen Nichols. Now that he's recently joined CBS' top-rated soap, The Young and the Restless (as business tycoon Tucker McCall), would Evans consider hopping to yet another soap opera? "I know there's a big fan campaign to get us back together. Look, I'm game for whatever, and Y&R is such a good show," she says. "I love doing daytime, because I love having a regular job and not having to work at a bank."

Even without an acting job, Evans knows how to keep busy. She has three children -- the youngest of whom is still in high school -- and her own business, Mary Beth's Apple Pie Company. "This all started on a dare by my husband. I used to make them and ship them to friends, and then one day, I went on QVC and sold 3,000 pies in seven minutes," she says. "This last year, we sold a lot of little mini pies of different flavors through the Williams-Sonoma website. I think we sold 34,000 baby pies just at Thanksgiving. Of course, now I have people make my recipes, though I got talked into actually helping to make these little leaves on top of the pies. Next year, I just have to be more careful about saying yes. But I do have to admit, they're pretty darn delish."


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