RIPLEY • The Ripley Arts Council is set to host the production of Steel Magnolias at the Dixie Theatre later this month.

Steel Magnolias first came to Ripley 12 years ago and was well received by the community. This time around, the show features three cast members from the original production, with Lynn Hill stepping up as the director. Hill and the theatre felt it was time to bring the girls back together and give the community another chance to enjoy such a heart warming, yet entertaining show.

This particular production is really special to the director. “It’s the funniest play that ever made you cry!” said Hill.

With witty characters and an intriguing story line, there’s something for everyone with this show. While the script does slightly differ from the film, it still features many of the iconic lines that fans will not miss.

Alongside Hill, Melinda Marsalis is using her skills as the producer to lead this all-star cast. This small, but spunky cast of women features Lisa Mauney as Truvy, Brennan Butler as Annelle, Jo Todd as Clairee, Katherine Farese as Shelby, Joyce Graddy as M’lynn, and Carlyn Bain as Ouiser. With guidance from Hill and Marsalis, these ladies have built a strong chemistry on set and rehearsals have nothing but good energy flowing.

Similar to the film, this group of women have plenty of fun with banter and laughs as if they really were lifelong friends. Surprisingly, these women have only been together a short while, however, it’s easy to see the bonds between each other are strong and they don’t shy away from lifting one another up.

When asked how their roles were chosen, Todd joked that they were all type cast except for Ouiser. While the cast jokingly agreed, Hill insists that wasn’t the case. It’s hard to imagine a better choice for Shelby than Farese as her character fully favors that of Julia Roberts. Mauney also channels her inner Dolly with the cheetah print and big, blonde hair. These ladies have a real talent that the audience will be sure to enjoy.

The unique aspect of this production is that it features a heavy set, with the whole show taking place at the beauty shop. The stage boasts an impressive set up thanks to Blake and Donna McGaughy who helped put it all together. From the bubble gum pink walls down to the curtains, the stage is reminiscent of the movie. True fans may even notice the models hanging on the wall to be somewhat familiar. In true small-town fashion, much of the community came together to help make this show truly original to an 80s beauty shop. Many of the salons in town contributed by donating items to the set and created door prizes that will be raffled off at the show’s premier.

The cast invites everyone to come out to attend one, or two, or three of their showings! They recommend the best way to enjoy it is with a good friend who you can share plenty of laughs with. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. There are multiple chances to view the production on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and Thursday, Feb. 20- Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

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