Ah, that we could all aspire to be Steel Magnolias. Let resiliency, sense of companionship, family and community be an inspiration.
The actors in The Little Theater in Walla Walla's production of Steel Magnolias demonstrated what strength of steel can be attained with unconditional love, sarcasm, humor and an inherent understanding of each other's weaknesses and foibles, and the acceptance of it all.
The women cast in their respective roles for this play were a perfect fit.
Shauna Lilly Bogley (as Truvy) was the epitome of a leading lady. While she shared the stage with others of equal talent, she still managed to command your attention with her droll delivery and well-practiced Southern accent.
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The transformation of Annelle (played by Sydney Boyd) was handled with aplomb. Boyd showed how a fearful young woman gracefully blossoms into a self-confidant woman. Her movement across the stage was never imposing, but always a presence.
Pam Murray (as Clairee) was the feminine version of a jock. Not easy to portray, she managed to endear herself to the audience. As each laugh came, she appeared to relax more and more and by the end of the production was visibly in control of her character.
Kay Fennimore-Smith (as M'Lynn) was the true Southern Belle. She showed that character and morals still count for something. Her portrayal in the beginning was a little softer than the others, but she definitely came into her own in the last act, delivering the most poignant and emotional lines, making us believe and share in her pain.
The role of Shelby was beautifully played by Molly Katherine McKinney.
The role of Ouiser, played by Terri Trick, blew onto the stage in a whirl of skirts with a sharp tongue and acid wit and captured the audience at once. Trick delivered her brassy and bold character on a silver saucer. The audience lapped it up.
While it is visible to all that the supporting crew worked hard for this production, a word must be inserted here for the extraordinary work of the set designer and building crew. Most items were true to period and the overall effect realistic.
If you're in need of a good laugh, the drive to Walla Walla is worth the trip.
*Layne Newman spent 27 years as a military wife before moving to Kennewick. Her two passions are theater and history, both of which she picked up while growing up in New Zealand.