Courtney Linam (seated) as Truvy Jones and Carly Sims (standing) as Annelle Dupuy perform a scene from Steel Magnolias. Courtesy of Paula Ross/Theatre of Gadsden.
Steel Magnolias, a play by Robert Harling adapted into a hit film in 1989, features six ladies who trade barbs and praise through good times and bad.
Theatre of Gadsden will perform an adaptation of the play directed by Mike Beecham on February 9 – 11 and February 16 – 18.
Beecham will help tell the story of a group of Louisiana women who are united by their humor and perseverance. It is the third time he has tackled the play as a director – once before in Gadsden and once in Atlanta.
Beecham said just reading the play can be an emotional experience for the actors.
“It gets to a lot of folks,” Beecham said. “These ladies have to find a way to control all that. If you lose control while on stage, you’ve lost control of your performance. We have to get those emotions out of the way beforehand.”
Joy Tilley Perryman, who plays Clairee, had unsuccessfully auditioned eight times in Nashville and Gadsden for a role in productions of Steel Magnolias before finally securing a part with TOG.
“I’m the Susan Lucci of Steel Magnolias,” she said, referencing the former star of All My Children who was nominated 19 times for a Daytime Emmy before finally winning the prize.
Courtney Linam, a TOG regular in several musicals such as Godspell and Always…Patsy Cline, plays Truvy. It is her first time tackling a role that does not involve a song. She said not sure if it’s harder, with or without music.
“It’s fun, a challenge,” Linam said. “It’s just different.”
The role of the social leader M’Lynn Eatenton is played by Robin Black. She said the play can appeal to anyone who grew up in a small town.
“I think we all know and probably have lived this scenario,” she said. “Our grandmothers, mothers, even us, going to the beauty shop every week. This scenario happens in so many places, it’s so relatable to everybody. My [mother] has been kicked out of several beauty shops and had to move to others.”
Steel Magnolias will be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 9, 10, 16 and 17, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 11 and 18 at the Ritz Theatre located at 310 Wall Street in Gadsden. Ticket information can be found at www.theatreofgadsden.org.