Union County

Union County Playmakers present ‘Steel Magnolias’

The cast of “Steel Magnolias,” back row from left, Jamie Hutteman, Carri Hilson, Caitlin Crump, Libby Dandridge. Front row from left, Catherine Atchley Holmes and Cindy Carter.
The cast of “Steel Magnolias,” back row from left, Jamie Hutteman, Carri Hilson, Caitlin Crump, Libby Dandridge. Front row from left, Catherine Atchley Holmes and Cindy Carter. COURTESY OF UNION COUNTY PLAYMAKERS

The Union County Playmakers will transport audiences to Chinquapin Parish, La., for a visit with the denizens of Truvy’s Beauty Shop.

Truvy’s is an iconic institution of the South and the setting for “Steel Magnolias,” by Robert Harling. Union County Playmakers will present the play Nov. 11-15 in the auditorium at Union County Public Schools Central Academy of Technology and Arts.

The play is the story of six disparate, feisty, wise-cracking women who gather weekly at Truvy’s beauty shop. The title, “Steel Magnolias,” refers to tenacity and delicacy in the principal characters.

“Steel Magnolias” ran off-Broadway as a play for 1,126 performances and on Broadway for another 159. It was adapted as a movie and in 1989 became an instant sensation and propelled the careers of Julia Roberts and Daryl Hannah.

Ginger Heath, president of Union County Playmakers and the productions director, said: “With a new theatre we never know who might be interested in auditioning and with this one, the time to advertise auditions was very short due not having a permanent venue. We were thrilled when we were able to schedule CATA and to get UCP board member and CATA theatre arts teacher, Larry Robinson, to be our technical director. Everything fell into place and at auditions I could have easily cast the show twice.”

Carri Hilson plays the advice giving, encouraging, beauty shop owner Truvy. CATA student Caitlin Crump plays the innocent, somewhat clumsy Annelle. Longtime middle school teacher, Libby Dandridge, plays everybody’s favorite character, Ouiser, the eccentric, outspoken millionaire.

Former professional actress and now middle school teacher, Jamie Hutteman, plays business woman and mom, M’Lynn. Cindy Carter plays the dignified former mayor’s wife, and Catherine Atchley Holmes plays Shelby.

“They have learned their lines ahead of schedule, brought in clothes they think their character would wear and they even bring drinks and ‘goodies’ to rehearsals,” Heath said. “Every rehearsal is like a day at Truvy’s Beauty Shop. It’s amazing how quickly we have all bonded.”

Heath told of visiting several Union County beauty salons, which loaned furnishings for the set.

In recognition of their support, the group is offering 20 percent discount coupons for their salon clients. Heath also recognized the Chamber of Commerce for their support and the Union County Community Arts Council for financial support and providing rehearsal space.

“Many people have seen the movie, some may have seen the play but I predict that even if you know the story, all who see this production will be touched,” Heath said.

John Anderson is a freelance writer: jafortrel@aol.com.

Want to go?

“Steel Magnolias” runs from Nov. 11-15 at the Central Academy of Technology and Arts. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. Tickets are $15, $10 for students. Group discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Call 704-238-3394 for tickets. Questions: info@unioncountyplaymakers.org.

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