Caroline Grace Hughes

Once again, The Red Door Theatre charmed the audience, this time with their production of the comic drama Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling. This play is extraordinary for many reasons – especially due to the thought and emotion Harling worked to create sincere women's point of view. Steel Magnolias beautifully mixes together laughter, tears and smiles into a remarkable story about friendship, family and love. Harling's work is truly more than a "girly" play.

While Steel Magnolias includes gossip in a beauty salon setting, the women depict genuinely strong, wonderful women who, despite their struggles, continue to support and love one another in the comfort of Truvy's beauty parlor.

I discovered how incredibly insightful and authentic Harling's comic drama dealt with rich topics, such as health issues and the death of a loved one.

Even though they did not always agree with one another, the women in Steel Magnolia encouraged and lifted each other's spirits during these life crises.

During the show, one could find everyone laughing because of the cast's witty delivery of the lines.

These southern women include the incredibly religious Annelle (Charity Smith), the ornery Ouiser (Janet Wilkerson), the diabetic Shelby (Kathryn Youngblood Williamson), the respected Clairee (Kim Graham) and Shelby’s mother M’Lynn (Leigh Moorer) who regularly meet at Truvy (Beth Beasley)'s beauty parlor to gossip and glam.

It is clear the women behind these characters worked hard to become these amusing and lovable characters. Each actress shined brighter than any stage light and created moments anyone and everyone can relate to.

Kathryn Wood, the director, cultivated a seamlessly wonderful production. One of the biggest difficulties in producing Steel Magnolias is the intricate balance between the comedic and dramatic pieces of the story, but with Wood’s direction, the cast developed the perfect balance.

Beasley's charming performance paralleled between her and her film counterpart, Dolly Parton. Graham and Wilkerson established a highly amusing friendship, which caused plenty of laughter throughout the show.

Smith brought a sweet, uplifting persona to the stage. Moorer stirred the audience as M’Lynn, as her exasperation with her daughter Shelby always out stemmed from love.

In addition, Williamson created a three-dimensional young woman with strength, courage and an obsession with pink, who fights for what she wants.

Of course, the hard work of front and back of house cannot go unnoticed, as they also played a crucial role in this amazing production.

Stage Manager Lisa Norton and Scherrie Banks as Backstage ensured the show ran smoothly. Philip Duvic and Bob Wood's set design realistically portrayed a 1980's beauty parlor, thus further capturing the audience.

As the Voice of KPPD's DJ, Robert Drake added more dimension to the play. Additionally, Sound Engineer Timothy Hereford and Lightboard Operator Belinda Barto provided technical aspects which contributes to the professionalism of Red Door Theatre.

If you want to enjoy high quality community theatre, I strongly suggest you visit the Red Door Theatre. These shows will "tickle you pink".

(1) comment

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