Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Steel Magnolias - meet cast member Carla Crawford

Tell us about your character.
Truvy is the owner of Truvy’s Beauty Shop.  She wants everyone who comes into her shop to feel welcome and loved.  Truvy is always looking at the bright side of life and wants others to share in her positivity.  She is hardworking, and I find it interesting that she is the only “working woman” of the bunch.  She is not really of the same “class” as the other ladies and yet they all find common ground dealing with the “ins and outs” of their daily lives.  Through triumphs and tragedy, they ultimately become each others’ family. 

What were some challenges you faced while working on this show?
The movie is so iconic and cherished by everyone.  The Truvy character that was played by Dolly Parton is so well known that it would be easy to just mimic what she did on screen.  It was important to me to make Truvy my own. I grew up in a very small town in Alabama and have sat in salons that I don’t think are very different from Truvy’s.  I tried to base “my” Truvy on some of the ladies back home. 

What should audiences take away from Steel Magnolias?
I hope audiences will be reminded how vital friendships are, how important it is to tell family you love them, and how unbelievably strong women can be.  I saw the movie with my mother when it came out and I remember laughing until we cried and crying until we were silly. I hope mothers come see the play with their daughters, and that good friends come together in bunches.

Steel Magnolias - meet Co-Stage Manager Larry Grey

What made you want to stage manage Steel Magnolias?
There were several factors in my decision to accept Jay Cohen's invitation to Co-Stage Manage this show. One, they would not let me audition for Claree or Ouiser! Two, they asked me and I can never say no! But seriously, I decided to jump on board because I love this show. Yes it is a show about 5 amazing strong women, but beyond that however, is a show about the value of friendship. A reminder to us that life is not meant to be lived in isolation, but we were created for fellowship. Each of these characters is on this journey called life. They rely on the strength of  each other to survive the journey. I think this story is a timeless message that we need reminding of often. It is a story I fell in love with on screen and I jumped at the chance to be a part of telling it again. 

What do you hope the audience takes away from this show?
I hope the audience takes away the message that life is a journey meant to be lived to the uttermost. You cannot let fear or doubt hold you back from experiencing all life has to offer. "Shelby" sums it up when she says "I would rather have 30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special". Sometimes the journey is full of joy, other times is hard and difficult. But we need to, and must lean on the ones we love. There is strength and hope when we look to those we love for strength. And joy when we lend others our strength and comfort. We are all on this journey together. And in the end the legacy we leave behind is not what we did but how we loved! 


Steel Magnolias - meet cast member Brenda Parker

Tell us about your character.
Clairee Belcher is well aged and refined.  Think of a nice bottle of French wine properly paired with a tart soft cheese. Her personality compliments almost every one of her friends. As the former Mayors wife and recent widow, she's trying to find new purpose and passion. Her humor gets her and everyone through many a rough emotions. She truly believes," Laughter is the best medicine."

What were some of the challenges you faced while working on this show?
Well like Annelle, I rely on my faith to get through the tough situations in life. Unlike my character Clairee, I am still happily married to my husband for almost 30 years. My challenge is trying to imagine carrying on with grace and courage in his absence.  Clairee has her "Steel Magnolias moments " daily. She finds reasons to get out of bed, go places and stay active and enrich the lives of her friends and community. All the while never letting a good recipe or reason to bake pass her by.

What do I  hope the audiences take away from this play?
To quote M'Lynn,  " That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." We can weather any storm together. With faith, friends, love and laughter we can all be a STEEL MAGNOLIA.