September 2016

Steel Magnolias & Coastal Stage Productions: A Recipe for Success

Author: Special to CH2

Hear that ’80’s music? That laughter? That ugly dog barkin’? The constant hummm from the hair dryer? And, that bang from distant gun fire? Gun fire? Yes, gun fire. (This is after-all, wedding season in the South.) Mix all of these sounds together with the delicious taste of sweet tea and the smell of Confederate jasmine. Add in a big scoop of hilarity, just a pinch of sassiness and a drop or two of tears. Blend it all together and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a delightful local production of Steel Magnolias.

When Coastal Stage Productions opens their rendition of Steel Magnolias in September, it will be the successful culmination of a creative recipe that also includes auditions in two Lowcountry communities, thoughtful director selection, brilliant cast selection, countless costume plots, endless set design ideas, blocking revisions, and over two months of read-throughs, rehearsals and workshops with an incredibly talented cast of local actors and offstage volunteers.

Steel Magnolias, Robert Harling’s 1987 off-Broadway sensation and subsequent smash film, fits perfectly within the late summer season of the Lowcountry. Filled with hilarious Southern quips and humorously revealing verbal confrontations, Steel Magnolias draws on the Southern strength and enduring love of its characters to make the play truly touching, funny and marvelous. The local cast of Beaufort County players portray the six distinctly different women whose lives interweave via the small-town gossip that reflects the unending cycle of birth, marriage and death.

This colorful cast is a wonderful combination of new and returning Coastal Players: Toye Hickman is the sassy town beautician Truvy; her eccentric salon sidekick, Annelle, is played by Lyndsay Malphrus. Connie Dudek-Hoskins plays Clairee, the town’s wealthy widow and cohort to the sharp-tongued Ouiser Boudreaux, played by Coastal newcomer Margy Oehlert. Other new faces to the Coastal family are Jean White, who portrays the charismatic and beloved daughter, Shelby, to M’Lynn the valiant, strong-willed and determined mother, played by Coby Turner. In addition, director Terri Hsu of Savannah, Georgia and assistant director Mark Erickson of Bluffton effectively provide brilliant control of the production. Hsu and Erickson are both talented director/actors on the Lowcountry theatre scene and have completed many creative and successful theatre projects.

Locally-based Coastal Stage Productions has been producing quality theatre productions and dinner theatre in the Lowcountry since 2014. The company’s owners Rodney Vaughn and local native Luke Cleveland have over 25 years of combined theatre experience on stage and behind the scenes of local community theatres. With each production, they collaborate their skill-sets with a multitude of ideas from new volunteers and actors who have been a part of their past two successful theatre seasons.

Coastal Stage Productions is a traveling theatre company and has shared productions in smaller communities such as Hardeeville, Estill, Edisto Beach and Ehrhardt, South Carolina. Larger hosting cities from past seasons include, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Orangeburg and Bluffton, South Carolina. The company’s productions can almost always be seen in Beaufort County at The Shed in Port Royal or at Main Street Theatre on Hilton Head Island.

Past Coastal Stage Productions projects include The Dixie Swim Club, Butterflies are Free, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Deathtrap, and Daddy’s Dyin’…Who’s Got the Will? Rounding out their 2016 season will be the holiday show Southern Belles, a hilarious parody of Southern Christmas pageantry from the writers of The Dixie Swim Club. For more information on future productions, please visit Coastal Stage Productions on Facebook.

Locally, Steel Magnolias can be seen at Main Street Theatre, 3000 Main St., Hilton Head Island, September 2-3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door.

In addition, Steel Magnolias will be playing at “Shelby’s Reception” Dinner Theatre at The Shed, 809 Paris Avenue, Port Royal, South Carolina, September 9-10 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $48 in advance only; For the performance only, September 9-10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 4 at 2 p.m., tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door.

Tickets for all events are available at brownpapertickets.com. To reserves seats or for more information, call (912) 656-1598.

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