Meridian Star

February 17, 2013

MLT play scheduled to open Thursday

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Meridian Little Theatre will open the popular comedy-drama “Steel Magnolias” on Thursday, Feb. 21. 

    The MLT play will run through Feb. 27, show times are 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee on Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.. 

    “Steel Magnolias” was originally under the direction of the late Jimmy Pigford. It has now been taken over by Jim Wood, who was an assistant to Pigford.

    The play begins in the morning with gunfire and hairspray. It's Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie’s wedding day and the women of Truvy’s Salon (“There is no such thing as natural beauty.”)  will not be denied their fair share of the big event.  

    Shelby met her fiancé at a party at the Petroleum Club in Shreveport, and “it was painfully obvious he had never taken the time to dance in front of a mirror.” The gunfire will end when Shelby’s dad has rid their yard of birds before the reception. The hairspray will go on forever.

    In this “rollicking and altogether endearing first play” (New York Post), Robert Harling deftly plumbs the rich communal spirit that binds the women of Truvy’s Salon, a spirit that prompts them to reveal their emotional flaws even as they work at hiding their real and imagined physical blemishes.   

    The steel magnolias are six strong women of Chanquapin, Louisiana. That’s beauty shop owner Truvy (Donna P. Colburn), her eager new assistant Annelle (Tiffany Brooks) and a quartet of society matrons who regularly patronize the shop for grooming, gossip and growing friendships.

    Set in the present, the storyline follows Shelby (Katie Coleman) “the prettiest girl in town.”  The play, which spans two and a-half years, begins on her wedding day. All wish the best, but fear the worst because of her poor health.

    Shelby’s mother, career woman M’Lynn (Sidney Covington), is the local society leader. Others are older shop patrons, grand dame Clairee (Millie Robinson) and rich curmudgeon Ouiser (Bennie Jean Fortenberry).

    Meridian Little Theatre’s right-hand team in the cut and curl department is Rita Darrington, hairstylist at Salon 39.  The functional beauty shop with running water on stage is being built by producer Scott Merrill.

    The grooming — shampoos, manicures and sets — happen right onstage, which is forcing MLT’s cast and director to explore the fine art of cosmetology.

    Single tickets for “Steel Magnolias” are: adults-$20; senior citizens (65+), students and military $18. For more information, contact the MLT Box Office Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (601) 482-6371 or purchase online at meridianlittletheatre.com.