Special to the Citizen
Coming to Festival Hall in downtown Greensboro on the heels of Mother’s Day is Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias set in Chinquapin, Louisiana. The play is a loving tribute to the eccentricity that characterizes a small Southern town. Harling injects his play with sharp humor, as he weaves a funny but touching story. He creatively and effectively reveals five well-defined women who survive life together in the midst of tragedy. In the moving conclusion, the audience discovers that the characters are bound together through their individual strengths and their deep need for each other’s amiable company in good times and bad.
Taking on the role of Truvy, the good-natured salon-owner, is Dona Franks. When Dona enters the stage, the Players’ audiences know they are in for a real treat. This time last year, she evoked house laughter repeatedly in Honky Tonk Angels. Veteran Cindy Helms is doing a fabulous interpretation of the offbeat millionairess, Clairee. Cindy recently played Sister Philamena in the Season Opener Drinking Habits. Also in Drinking Habits playing an ambitious reporter, Kelly Herrington assumes the timid character, Annelle, a newcomer to town and recently hired by Truvy. Returning to the stage after several turns at directing, Carolyn Fears puts her Ouiser on for this production. Cast as M’Lynn and Shelby, portraying the mother and daughter connection, are Martha Franks and Anna Lyn Mobley. Both are new members of the Lake Country Players. Anna Lyn was recruited after her outstanding dramatic interpretation at a regional high school competition. Taking on the role of spunky Shelby, Anna Lyn is simultaneously rehearsing for a Nathaniel Greene musical. Acting as Shelby’s mother, Martha Franks gladly accepted the role of M’Lynn. She reflects, “The movie Steel Magnolias will forever be on my list of favorite movies from the eighties.” She opted for the role of M’Lynn because she feels that she shares close character resemblance to Shelby’s mother. Martha continues, “This is my first time acting onstage, and I am grateful to be a part of an outstanding cast and production. “ After just a few rehearsals, Artistic Director John Copelan became excited about this show even though this is his fourth time to produce it. He pointed out, “I am impressed with the way cast members are embracing their roles and are transforming before my eyes into these beloved characters.” John has a surprise up his sleeve for the audience by using a popular community personality in a cameo “appearance.” He predicts this cast is going to bring Lake Country Players’ May audience an outstanding performance of this southern favorite.
Steel Magnolias runs at Greensboro’s Festival Hall on Thursday, May 12; Friday, May 13; Saturday, May 14. Curtain for week nights is 7:00 p.m. The Sunday May 15 matinee curtain is 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 each. Call 706-819-3190 starting on April 11 to reserve your tickets.