By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays Community Theatre will be staging “Steel Magnolias” Friday and Saturday, but if you don’t already have tickets, you are out of luck. They are sold out.
Many fans may know the popular movie by the same name starring Sally Field and Julia Roberts.
Rebecca Grizzell is directing the HCT production assisted by TMP student Dylan Werth.
“This cast has done an amazing job taking the iconic characters from the movie and making them their own,” Grizzell said. “Each actor has spent so much time and effort getting to know and working on their character development. I am so proud to see these women grow as actors. The movie is so iconic, and the play version actually holds up to the hype of the movie. The play is almost word-for-word the same as the movie. However, it does not have the male characters that the movie has.”
The cast includes Jessica Morgan as Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, Brenda Meder as Truvy Jones, Lynelle Shubert as Clairee Belcher, Haileigh Jacobs as Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, Pamela Grizzell as M’Lynn Eatenton and Nancy Selbe as Ouiser Boudreaux.
Grizzell talked about working with an all-female cast.
“The benefits of the cast being all female is that the attention is never taken away from the female characters,” Grizzell said. “It allows the audience more time to learn and get to know the women in a way that the movie cannot provide.
“While watching the movie, you can almost completely forget about the character Clairee. In the play version, she is this strong and feisty woman who you cannot stop laughing with. The play does a wonderful job of showing true and genuine female friendships. Having a small, all-female cast was such a fun experience. It allowed us to just have fun with each other and girl talk on the side.”
Grizzell said Annelle is her favorite character in the play.
“Annelle starts the production as an emotionally unstable woman who has just lost her man and owns little to nothing,” she said. “She’s very nervous and has no self confidence. Throughout the show, she discovers her love for God. She becomes a stronger woman and learns her self worth. Annelle was the character who always had a nervous laugh, but now she stands tall and has playful banters with the older women. She is the character that everyone should inspire to be.”
Grizzell, who herself struggled with strep throat during rehearsals, said the biggest challenges with this show were illnesses and recasting.
“Since we are a small cast and constantly close, we just passed the sickness around. Some days it was kind of like ‘OK, who is it today?'” she said.
Truvy had to be recast twice.
“Hugs and thank yous go Brenda Meder for stepping in just a few weeks before the show to play Truvy,” Grizzell said. “I am constantly so impressed and in awe of Brenda. She is the true definition of a professional. We are so grateful to her for saving us at the last minute and adding so much character to our production.”
Meder is no stranger to “Steel Magnolias.” She played M’Lynn 19 years ago.
This is Rebecca Grizzell’s first time directing for HCT, but she has acted and served in other roles for many other productions.
“Some of my favorite roles with HCT are Little Red Riding Hood in ‘Into the Woods’ and Fiona in ‘Shrek the Musical,’ ” she said. “I have done choreography for HCT a few times, including ‘The King and I’ and ‘Christmas Story.’ This is my first time directing for HCT, and it has been a whole new experience. I now have so much more respect for the people in our community who constantly volunteer to direct. It’s a ton of hard work, but in the end, so incredibly worth it.”
Rebecca said the best aspect of directing “Steel Magnolias” is the opportunity to work with her mother, Pamela Grizzell, who is playing M’lynn.
“I have worked with my mother on projects with HCT before, but never like this. Working with her has been the most special part of directing. She is a phenomenal woman and actress. We are constantly joking about how the relationship of Shelby and M’Lynn mirror that of our own.
“I don’t think we could have chosen a better M’lynn. She just fits that character so well. Every night she makes the crew tear up with her performance. Haileigh Jacobs plays our Shelby, and those two just have a natural chemistry with their characters. They really sell that they are family, and it’s like watching a snippet of my life with my mother. It’s beautiful.”
Next in HCT’s season line up is its summer musical of “The Little Mermaid,” directed by Cody Kreutzer, who Grizzell said is extremely talented. “Seussical Jr.” will be HCT’s children’s show. The Christmas show is “Fruitcakes.” If people would like to get involved with the community theater, they can visit the HCT website, https://www.hctks.com. You can also purchase tickets for future productions there.
Full cast list
Annelle Dupuy-Desoto——–Jessica Morgan
Truvy Jones———————Brenda Meder
Clairee Belcher—————–Lynelle Shubert
Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie—Haileigh Jacobs
M’Lynn Eatenton————–Pamela Grizzell
Ouiser Boudreaux————–Nancy Selbe
In case you want crew:
Assistant Director—-Dylan Werth
Stage Manager——–Bill Brown
Costume Design——The Cast
Costume Mistress—–Sharona Fonoble
Set Construction——Jerrett Leiker and Adam Conkey
Set Design————-Rebecca Grizzell, Dylan Werth, and Bill Brown
Lights and Sound——————–Bryan “Buzz” Snyder-Brown, Jayme Brown