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Steel Magnolias to hit stage this weekend
react to explosion
Cast members are Giovanna Dagnello-Claxton, Lori Benassi-Parker, Belinda Pollett, Jessica Ruth Webb, Greta Cribbs and Pamela Jackson. The entire cast of “Steel Magnolias” reacts to a loud explosion offstage. - photo by Photo provided

Effingham Theatre is at it again.

They are once more bringing the theatrical arts to the county. Unlike previous shows produced by Effingham Theatre, this is to be a main stage production of “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling. As always, the play is cast and crewed by local community members. This will be the first main stage play in Effingham and the group has high hopes for its success. The play was chosen and is to be directed by Greta Cribbs and Giovanna Dagnello-Claxton.  

This will be the first production in the guest director series created by Effingham Theatre’s managing director Tamara Tyre. The program is designed to bring in local Effingham people with a passion for theatre and give them the chance to be fully engaged in a main stage environment.

Both the directors for “Steel Magnolias” have a past in theatre and a passion to share that experience with their community, the play they have chosen to produce is set in a small beauty parlour and follows the lives and trials of six friends as they face adverse and very real situations.

The Effingham Theatre director was quoted as saying “I am very excited about this project, the girls have done amazingly well, and their passion for performing has clearly passed to their cast. It has been fun to see this show develop, and I can hardly wait to see the end result.”  

Being a true ensemble production with the directors on stage as actors, the show presents some unique challenges.

“The biggest challenge has been when we’re on stage we can’t see what’s going on,” Cribbs said. “We can’t see if we are standing in front of someone behind us, and they have a line. But Tamara (Tyre) has been working with us as stage manager, and she has been really good about helping us work through issues like that.”

Indeed it is the closeness of the entire team that pulls the production together, as explained by Dagnello-Claxton.

“Everyone compliments each other so well, and the chemistry is fantastic,” she said.

The Steel Magnolias production will take place on July 17-18 at 8 p.m., and July 19 at 3 p.m. The shows are to take place in the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Social Hall, in downtown Springfield, with ticket prices set at $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.  

For more information on the “Steel Magnolias” project, and to make reservations, call Cribbs at754-0756.