The Boiler Room Theatre (BRT), Williamson County’s original and longest-running professional theatre company, will stage Robert Harling’s classic comedic drama Steel Magnolias in August. The production will run from August 17th through September 8th at the theatre’s iconic namesake venue in the historic Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Rd., Building Six, in Franklin, Tenn.
Made famous by the 1989 movie of the same name, Steel Magnolias centers around M’Lynn, played by Kay Ayers, and her daughter Shelby, played by Lori Bargas. Beginning on the morning of Shelby’s wedding day, the play follows the mother and daughter over the course of the next three years, as they come to terms with Shelby’s decision to become pregnant despite having Type 1 Diabetes and the ultimate consequences of that decision. The story is made richer by focusing not just on M’Lynn and Shelby, however, but on the small group of ladies who gather in the Louisiana beauty parlor owned by Truvy, played by Keri Pisapia. “Most women always want to play the roles of Shelby and M’Lynn because they are usually looked on as the ‘stars,’ but this is truly an ensemble show,” says director Lisa Gillespie. “Of all the characters, it is Truvy who holds it all together. She is the ‘hairspray,’ if you will, that helps the entire hairdoo hold up under pressure and extreme conditions. She uses humor to downplay seriousness and anger and keeps the group together.” The group of friends also includes town newcomer Annelle (Cassie Hamilton) and the constantly-sparring Clairee (Linda Speir) and Ouiser (Lynn Yates). “I feel that there is actually a seventh character in this show…..the beauty shop itself,” adds Gillespie. “The Beauty Shop is the place where all of these people come together and where the day-to-dayness of life carries on – through tragedy and humor.”
No stranger to the Boiler Room Theatre stage herself, Gillespie is excited to put her stamp on this well-known show. “I’ve always loved this show and love Southern theater. This will be a faithful adaption of the play – set in the 80s with the big hair and all that goes with it.” Costumer Katie Delaney and Set Designer Corbin Green will help Gillespie to bring her vision to life.
Performances will be held every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening from August 17th through September 8th at 8 p.m. There will be select Thrifty Thursday and Sunday Matinee shows, as well. Information on specific Sunday Matinee and Thrifty Thursday show dates can be found at www.boilerroomtheatre.com. Ticket prices are $27 for adults, $25 for seniors (age 60 and up) and students (age 13 through college with valid ID), and $21 for children ages 3 through 12. Matinee prices are $2 less respectively. All Tuesday shows are two-for-one ($27 for two tickets; no other discounts apply). Thrifty Thursdays allow guests to beat the weekend crowds and grab tickets at the bargain price of $17. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Boiler Room Theatre at 615-794-7744 or ordered online at www.boilerroomtheatre.com.
Following Steel Magnolias, the 2012 Season will continue with Parade, A Year With Frog and Toad, and Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge.
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The Boiler Room Theatre (BRT) is Williamson County’s first and longest-running resident professional theatre company, established in 2000, launching its inaugural season in March 2001. A 501(c)(3) non-profit Arts organization, BRT’s mission is to present intimate stagings of classic Broadway musicals, area premieres of recent off-Broadway plays and musicals, and original works by local playwrights and composers. BRT’s Youth Educational Programs (YEP!) and its partnership with the performance group the ACT TOO Players have provided theatre arts instruction and performance opportunities to more than 10,000 children since its inception in 2001.
Photo by Rick Malkin