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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Soulstice Theatre Presents ‘Steel Magnolias’

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Soulstice Theatre brings some Southern flavor to the stage this week with an intimate production of Robert Harling’s classic 1987 stage drama, Steel Magnolias. Soulstice’s fourth-floor studio theater on Milwaukee’s South Side will serve as a small-town hair salon—the backdrop for a casual, down-to-earth drama. With its bittersweet mix of wit and passion, a production of Steel Magnolias is only as good as its ensemble. Fortunately, Soulstice Managing Director Jeffrey Berens has assembled a solid cast. Representing a wide range of talent, the six women in this cast have appeared on nearly every stage in Milwaukee. There’s an opportunity here for a really interesting cross-generational stage dynamic. It should be lots of fun to watch.

The ever-sweet Kelly Simon, who has made a strong impression in recent Soulstice productions, forms the emotional center of the play as Shelby, a pregnant woman with Type 1 diabetes who struggles with the idea that her baby could end up with the same condition. No stranger to Soulstice herself, Katie Lyn Hardt plays the witty, outspoken Truvy Jones, owner of the aforementioned salon, which is based out of her home. Joining Soulstice for the first time, Sandra Stark plays the gossipy Clairee Belcher. A perfect choice for the production, Stark has a great deal of experience on intimate stages. Sally Marks, who has appeared with Milwaukee Chamber, Sunset Playhouse and several other companies over the years, plays Clairee’s unlikely friend Ouiser Boudreaux, the small Southern town’s wealthy curmudgeon. Soulstice board member Margaret Casey plays town social leader M’Lynn Eatenton, and Allison Roth rounds out the cast as the nave new girl, Annelle Dupuy Desoto.

Soulstice Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias runs April 9-24 at the Marian Center for Nonprofits. A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.