Surrey’s Naked Stage brings “Steel Magnolias” to the stage for its final play reading of the fall-to-spring season.
Set in a Louisiana hair salon, Robert Harling’s popular comedy-drama about friendship and resilience will be read by six women including Jenn Tiles (as shop operator Truvy), Katie Crompton (Annelle), Val Dearden (Clairee), Elyse Raible (Shelby), Kathleen Driscoll (M’Lynn) and Margaret Shearman (Ouiser).
Auditions were held in April for three show dates June 2 to 4 at Newton Cultural Centre (13530 72 Ave.). Show times Friday and Saturday are 7:30 p.m., followed by a Sunday matinee, 2 p.m.
Director Colleen McGoff Dean calls “Steel Magnolias” an iconic story told by characters who stand by one another in good times and bad.
“These women look life straight in the eye and see the good in it and in one another,” she says in a post on Naked Stage’s Facebook page.
“As the director, I have been moved to tears, laughed out loud, and been lifted up by the performance of the incredibly talented actors I have had the good fortune to work with in this show.”
The 1989 film version of “Steel Magnolias” starred newbie Julia Roberts alongside Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton, two years after Harling’s play debuted on stage.
The characters in “Steel Magnolias” are Truvy Jones (40ish, owner of the beauty shop), Annelle Dupuy-Desoto (19, beauty shop assistant), Clairee Belcher (66ish, widow of former mayor, grande dame), Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie (25, prettiest girl in town), M’Lynn Eatenton (50ish, Shelby’s mother, socially prominent career woman) and Ousier Boudreaux (66ish, wealthy curmudgeon, acerbic but lovable).
While the company name might imply an erotic happening, it’s the stage that’s naked, not the performers. Naked Stage shows don’t have movement, extensive lighting, sound systems or props, and the stage is bare except for the actors seated on stools and music stands for their scripts.
The “Steel Magnolias” story is “uplifting and authentic with characters who seem like old friends,” McGoff Dean says.
Also, Naked Stage’s performance tradition of “no sets, no props, just really great acting” works to engage audiences “as if you are in Truvy’s salon with them, overhearing their interactions with one another.”
Show tickets are sold for $18 on nspsociety.com/upcoming-shows, also at the door.
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