THE MATTHEWS Brings Comedy-Drama “Steel Magnolias” To The Stage

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Cast L-R: Mikayla Lemaster, Pat Rogge, Sydney Bridgeport, Alexandra Schoenberner, Amy Ruff, Deb Brunette. Photo: supplied by The Matthews

January 23, 2017

SPEARFISH, SD – Warm your insides with laughter and tears this cold February in Spearfish. The ensemble cast of talented Black Hills’ actors takes The Matthews’ stage, Feb. 16-19. The play is directed by Joanna Mechaley. The Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for $15 adults, $10 subscribers, and $5 youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com.

The cast is comprised of Amy Ruff as Truvy, Mikayla Lemaster as Annelle, Sydney Bridgeport as Clairee, Alexandria Schoenberner as Shelby, Deb Brunette as M’Lynn, and Pat Rogge as Ouiser.

The play opens with a discussion of Shelby’s wedding day to her fiancé, Jackson, in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin at Truvy’s in-home beauty parlor where the women regularly gather.

It covers events over the next three years with Shelby’s Type 1 diabetes and how the women interact at times with conflict, but in the end resolved as friends. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother M’Lynn, and Shelby’s medical battles, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.

Director, Joanna Mechaley remarks, “’This is a show that is both heartbreaking and side-achingly funny. “Steel Magnolias” has become an iconic portrait of women and the bonds they form with each other.”

“It has been such a privilege to work with this cast of women. Each of them has woven a bit of themselves with a dash of the only-imagined to create, beyond expectation, a cast of characters that is endearing and amusing and all-together familiar,” continues Mechaley.

The next event for The Matthews is the inaugural concert of the Club Matthews Jazz Sessions series, by JAS Quintet at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 2. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.MatthewsOpera.com.

“Steel Magnolias” is a 1987 stage play by American writer, Robert Harling, based on his experience with his sister’s death in 1985. The play is a comedy–drama about the bond amongst a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana. The title suggests the “female characters are as delicate as magnolias, but as tough as steel.” The magnolia specifically references a magnolia tree they are arguing about at the beginning.

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