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Steel Magnolias Opens November 11

Theatre on the Ridge, the drama production group operating under the auspices of the Foundation of Arts, will open the drama series at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 11, 12 and 13, 1999 at the Forum Theatre. The play, Steel Magnolias, by Robert Harling was the basis for the popular film version of the story starring Shirley MacLaine, Sally Fields, ulia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis and Daryl Hannah.

The play is being directed by veteran equity actress and longtime Jonesboro resident, Frances Kemp. "I have been in three different versions of this play under three verry different directors and so I think I know how to make this play work. The most important part of this play is reflecting the relationships between the characters. Women develop very different types of relationships than do men," said Ms. Kemp. "I am tickled with the progress of my actresses and I see them developing their own relationships as our rehearsals progress. I think we are going to have a great rendition for our audience," she predicted.

On another note, the play is actually based on a true story from the writer's own life. He wrote this play after his own sister's death from kidney failure. He did take artistic licence by changing some names and of course interjecting some invented scenes into the play, buy for the most part it is a true-to-life story.

The entire cast, chosen from a pool of over 25 auditioning hopefuls, comes from the Jonesboro regional area. Cast list is as follows:

Truvy   -  Maggie Greer                                                                             
Annelle -  Andi Wilson                                                                              
Clairee -  Trudy Niederbrach                                                                        
Shelby  -  Jessica Ward                                                                             
M'Lynn  -  Margaret Peacock                                                                         
Ouiser  -  Joanne Burlson                                                                           
Understudies are Laura Gunter and Gabrielle Callahan.                                               

Tickets go on sale Monday, October 25, 1999 at the Forum Theatre box office Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by phone (870) 935-2726. Prices range from $8 to $15 and discounts are given to subscribers and groups of 20 or more.

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Copyright by Larry Heyl and Vivian Heyl, 1997