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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Entertainment

‘Steel Magnolias’ Cast Members Put Energy, Emotions Into Roles

“Steel Magnolias”

Time and location: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Feb. 9-25, Sixth Street Melodrama, Wallace

Tickets: $9, $7 for seniors/students, call 752-3081 for reservations.

Rehearsals are about the same as therapy sessions for the six women in the Sixth Street Melodrama’s production of “Steel Magnolias.”

“They’re quite draining,” said theater manager Pat Grounds. “The women get out all the emotions they don’t use during the day.”

The play opens at 8 p.m. Thursday in the 86-seat theater at 212 Sixth in Wallace.

Director Sherrill Grounds chose the emotional work because he knew strong performers who could fill the roles, Pat Grounds said. And there are rich roles to fill.

Take Ouiser (pronounced Weezer) for instance. She’s loud, obnoxious and cantankerous. She abuses her friends in the small Southern town’s beauty parlor. But she couldn’t live without them.

Or M’Lynn. She’s the stoical mother who endures great tragedy with the help of her beauty parlor friends.

The characters are as diverse as merchandise at a swap meet, giving credence to the adage “opposites attract.” Despite their differences, these women need each other to make some sense out of life.

Most of the cast will be familiar to melodrama regulars. Karin Clark played the melodrama’s heroine for five years before leaving to seek her fortune in California. She plays M’Lynn.

Margie O’Neill, a Shoshone Medical Center nurse, plays Truby, the beauty shop owner. O’Neill played Tansy in the melodrama’s production of “The Nerd” last year.

Other familiar faces will include Amy Hall as Truby’s assistant, Annelle; local writer Deb Mellon as Ouiser; and Kelley Cook as Claree, the wife of the former mayor. Cook played a rousing Mother Superior in the melodrama’s production of “Nunsense.”

Rachel Stanley, a Wallace waitress, will play M’Lynn’s ill-fated daughter, Shelby. “Steel Magnolias” will be Stanley’s stage debut.

Though billed as a multi-hanky play, “Steel Magnolias” offers a good supply of laughs. Grounds recommends parents come without children.

“There’s nothing objectionable in it,” she said. “Kids just wouldn’t understand and there isn’t enough action for them.”

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