The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 17, 2013

Ladies of steel

DHS Players to present 'Steel Magnolias'

BY CAROL ROEHM
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Danville High School Players will present the 1980s favorite, “Steel Magnolias,” as their spring production this weekend.

Performances will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at the school. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Written by Robert Harling, the play depicts the story of the women in Truvy’s small-town beauty parlor in Louisiana who love each other, even as they argue and gossip about practically everything.

“Steel Magnolias” takes the audience on a sometimes comic, sometimes heart-wrenching ride with the women as they discover loyalty, trust and true friendship during life’s most challenging moments.

DHS Players Director Lisa Richter said she chose this play for the spring production because “I have a lot of strong girls, and it is senior year for quite a few of them.

“I wanted to challenge them on their way out,” she said. “Some of them I’ve had since Children’s Theater at Red Mask. It’s going to be sad because I’m not going to be working with some of these kids again.

“It’s an emotional play that will challenge them,” Richter added. “At times it’s funny and at times it’s sad. The characters all depend on each other.”

Unlike the 1989 movie, there are no men’s parts in the play, she said.

“The whole play takes place in a beauty salon and it takes place in the ‘80s,” Richter said. “One of the main characters is Shelby, and she’s getting married. Her wedding colors are blush and bashful, which are pink and pink.”

Sophomore Shelby Dale, who is named after the Shelby character portrayed by Julia Roberts in the movie, will play her namesake in the DHS production.

Despite being only a sophomore, Shelby said, “I’ve been in lots of plays and the Children’s Theater at Red Mask.”

Still, being a leading character in the small ensemble cast can be a little nerve-wracking.

“It’s such a small cast. There’s a lot of pressure on all of us,” Shelby said. “My character is the reason for all of us coming together.”

For Shelby, the most difficult part of the play isn’t mastering a southern drawl as much as it is arguing with her on-stage mother, M’Lynn, played by senior Demi Richter, who happens to be Shelby’s good friend.

“The hardest part is having to argue with Demi because we’re friends,” Shelby said.

Demi said she has found it difficult to play a middle-aged mother.

“It’s hard to play a woman in her 40s and trying to relate to having fully grown children,” the teenager said. “I have to use my friendship with her (Shelby) as my motivation.”

One aspect of the play that Richter said has tripped up the young cast is some of the sayings from the 1980s, such as “soup to nuts” and “as busy as a one-arm paper hanger.”

The play is guaranteed to appeal to wide audience.

“It’s a classic play,” Richter said. “It’s stood the test of time. It’s a beautiful story about friendship.”

The DHS students who are in the spring production are: Shelby Dale as Shelby; Demi Richter as M’Lynn; Megan Seyfert as Annelle; Haley Youhas as Ouiser; Courtney Crisp as Truvy; and Sara Todd as Clairee.

If you go

Danville High School Players will present “Steel Magnolias.” Performances will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at DHS. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students at the door.