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Posted on Apr 21, 2017

‘Steel Magnolias’ opens at Masquers in Soap Lake

“Steel Magnolias,” the story of six southern women with a captivating mix of charm and fortitude, returns to the Masquers Theater stage this Friday.
The play, directed by Grant County theater veteran Randy Brooks, is no stranger to the local boards, having been played once before, more than 15 years ago at the old Chapel Theater on Third Avenue in Moses Lake.
“It touches every emotion that there is,” Brooks said. “People are going to cry, people are going to laugh and all of the characters, all of them are stars. It’s a true ensemble. Everybody has a scene or two or three where their character shines.”

In the chairs, Melissa Sloan in the foreground, and Laura Knittle in the background, chat it up with Emma Russell (behind Sloan) and Sharon Winningham (behind Knittle) in a scene from “Steel Magnolias,” the play opening Friday at Soap Lake’s Masquers Theater.
Photo by Sebastian Moraga/Post-Register

This version of “Steel Magnolias” is more aligned with the 1987 play by Robert Harling – which he wrote after the death of his sister from diabetes – than with the 1989 movie starring Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, Darryl Hannah, Sally Field and Olympia Dukakis.
“The movie is a very good movie; a lot of times you have a play and you have a movie and the movie sucks,” Brooks said. “This doesn’t. But as far as the original script, this is the original script that we are using.”
The play stars Melissa Sloan, Laura Knittle, Cheri Barbre, Sharon Winningham, Barbara Sloan and Emma Russell. It runs April 21, 22, 28, 29 and May 5 and 6, with shows at 7:30 p.m., and matinees April 23, 30 and May 7 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $14 and $10 for seniors.
“You will find that there will be mothers bringing daughters, daughters bringing mothers, to see this show, and the guys will probably do the same thing,” Brooks said. “If you want a good laugh, if you want a good cry, this is the play.”
The Chapel Theater production, which he directed “was such a perfect production,” Brooks said, that he had vowed never to do “Steel Magnolias” again. Melissa Sloan had a role in that production, as did Barbre, Barbara Sloan and Melissa’s close friend Sue LaMunyon, who died a few years ago.
Melissa Sloan’s willingness to do the play again helped change Brooks’ mind.
“She said, ‘Anytime, anyplace,’” Brooks said, “So I said, ‘I’ll do it.’”

By Sebastian Moraga,

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