‘Steel Magnolias’ coming to the Ritz

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A southern treat that will make you laugh aloud and shed a few tears is coming to the stage of the Ritz Theatre in Greenville this summer. The curtain will rise on “Steel Magnolias” at 7:30 p.m. August 12 and 13.

The comedy-drama by Robert Harling, based on his own real-life experiences with a diabetic sister, was later turned into a hit movie starring Sally Field and Julia Roberts.

The Greenville production is being directed by John Cardy, a theater arts graduate of USA, and will feature Ritz Players Harriet Foshee as M’lynn, Angela Thomas as Shelby, Charlotte Blasingame as Ouiser Boudreaux, Meagen Cardy as Annelle, Earline Johnson as Claree and Lori Neilson as Truvy, the owner of the beauty shop where all the action takes place.

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Neilson, Foshee and Johnson, along with Cardy, were on hand at Thursday’s Rotary Club meeting to share their experiences preparing for the Ritz Players’ first summer production.

“I actually had to learn how to do some hairstyling in order to play this role,” Neilson said.

“I haven’t acted since high school, so I have had a lot to learn from John. But it has been so much fun and we hope to make these summer shows an annual event.”

“It’s really been great to get together and do something like this in the hot ol’ summertime,” Foshee said.

“At 57, learning all those lines is a lot more difficult than it was back in the ‘70s,” she said with a laugh. “Difficult, but I’m loving it. And John has been a fantastic director.”

Johnson, whose character Claree is a witty former mayor’s wife who also happens to be filthy rich, said rehearsals had been “a delight.”

“You will be amazed at the talent here,” she said.

Cardy said the remaining cast members, Thomas, Blasingame and Cardy, were also doing an outstanding job with their roles.

“We’ve been rehearsing three nights a week for about three hours a night for several weeks. The cast has really worked hard and we hope a lot of people will turn out to see these six very talented women,” Cardy said.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at The Pineapple downtown. VIP tickets for Friday night can be purchased for $20 which includes the Pink & White Preshow Reception with wine and cheese.

The monies raised through this show will help the Greenville Area Arts Council defray the costs of bringing professional shows to the Ritz each year.