Female powered 'Steel Magnolias' features some of Wilmington's best actresses

Female powered 'Steel Magnolias' features some of Wilmington's best actresses
The play is on stage at Cape Fear Academy's Erin E McNeill Fine Arts Center. (Source: WECT)
The play is on stage at Cape Fear Academy's Erin E McNeill Fine Arts Center. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Steel Magnolias follows a group of women who are as "delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel."

The stage play is coming to Cape Fear Academy's Erin E. McNeill Fine Arts Center beginning Friday, Aug. 3.

Robert Harling wrote the show, basing it on his sister's death in 1985 and the bond she shared with her mother and other women in the community.

In 1989, it became a hit Hollywood movie, starring Julia Roberts as his sister.

The stage show is different from the film, in that it only features a cast of women, explained Heather Setzler, who is the director of this adaptation of the show.

She cast some of Wilmington's best-known actors for the show, including Debra Gillingham as Clairee, Heather Lindquist-Bull as Annelle, Elizabeth Michaels as M'lynn, Michelle Braxton as Truvy, Courtney Poland Rickert as Shelby and Chris Miller as Ouiser.

"I have a female stage manager and then we have six women in the cast, so it's just a room of eight women and everyone's just got such a great personality and they feel so strongly about the show," Setzler said. They have so many ideas about the show and the characters. So, it's really a collaborative effort. If I would get stuck and I wasn't sure where to go on a certain scene, I had seven people with an idea and it's great."

Setzler said it's a show that is relatable for many.

"It's just one of those shows that gives you hope," she said. "You know somebody that is like these characters. Everyone's been through the things that these women have been through, struggles with their marriage, struggles with illnesses and pregnancies and weddings. And it's just darn funny. It's these wonderful little southern witticisms that are really clever and funny."

Students worked on the set design and build for the show as part of a newly launched Cape Fear Academy Technical Theatre Summer Intensive Camp.

Students who participated in the program will be VIP guests for opening night.

For tickets and show times, click here.

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