Stoneham Theatre presents Steel Magnolias, written by Robert Harling, directed by Paula Plum. Performances end October 2: Thurs. (7:30 pm), Fri. (8 pm), Sat. (3 pm & 8 pm), Sun. (2 pm). Tickets: $44-$48 regular admission; senior discounts apply; all student tickets $20. Student/senior discount matinees available. [Special pay-what-you-can Thursday performance: September 15.] Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham. Wheelchair accessible. For advance tickets and information, visit or call the Box Office at 781-279-2200 (hours Tues.-Sat., 1-6pm) or log onto www.stonehamtheatre.org.
Award-winning actor Paula Plum occasionally ventures over into the director's chair particularly when an opportunity presents itself to work with some of her closest gal pals on the local theater scene. This chance to spend some quality time is especially heightened when a play's setting, as in the case of Steel Magnolias, happens to be in what can be considered a safe and sacred space for women - the local beauty salon - a salon in Natchitoches, Louisiana to be exact. No matter that it's a converted carport and the din of hair dryers can get pretty loud. All can relax in knowing they will be heard when the time comes, whether it be in sharing a mini triumph or a major tragedy.
For Stoneham Theatre's production of Steel Magnolias, Plum has gathered together her friends Sarah deLima (as Clairee Belcher) and Kathy St. George (as M'Lynn Eatenton), along with Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (as Annelle Dupuy-Desoto), Kerry Dowling (as Truvy Jones), Marie Polizzano (as Shelby Eatenton-Latcheri), and Sheriden Thomas (as Ouiser Boudreaux), to portray some pretty tough "steel magnolias" who face life's uncertainties with wit and courage. That isn't to say that tears aren't shed from time to time. The play begins on the morning of Shelby Eatenton's wedding day. She joins her mother and her mother's outrageous friends - including the lovable curmudgeon Ouiser and small-town grande dame Clairee - in Truvy's Beauty Parlor to get her hair done and begin celebrating her new life. She has some health concerns, but no matter. Steel Magnolias then proceeds to cover a span of three years, all under the watch of Truvy's tight knit regulars.
"I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence."
[one of many memorable lines often quoted from Steel Magnolias,
this one recently tweeted by Dolly Parton, who played
Truvy in the 1989 screen adaptation]
Paula Plum's directing credits include The Blue Room (SpeakEasy [workshop production]), Pillowman (UMass/Lowell), Jakes' Women (Merrimack Rep), Lone Star/Laundry & Bourbon (Alley Theatre), Lady & the Clarinet (New Ehrlich), Baltimore Waltz (Lyric), and Tell Me On A Sunday (Stuart Street Theatre). Plum's extensive stage and screen acting credits are too numerous to mention here, but her expertise can be summed up in this recent review by the Boston Globe: "Paula Plum, whose commanding, multilayered performance as Cleopatra is reason enough to see the Actors' Shakespeare Project's fine production of ‘Antony and Cleopatra.'" Plum holds a BFA from BU, as well as received training from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and is a member of SAG, AFTRA, and AEA.
Stoneham Theatre's production of Steel Magnolias includes artistic support from Jenna Lord (scenic design), Gail Astrid Buckley (costume design), Daniel H. Jentzen (lighting design), David Wilson (sound design), and Carissa Gerber (props).
Stoneham Savings Bank is sponsoring this production of Steel Magnolias and the MelRose Cooperative Bank is the sponsor for the special Pay-What-You-Can Thursday performance.
Additional events at Stoneham Theatre connected to the production:
-- Steel Magnolias Talkback:
Sunday, September 18, following the 2 pm matinee. Join the full creative team in a lively discussion on staging this fun but challenging play.
-- Steel Magnolias Workshop:
Saturday, September 24, 1:00-2:30 pm, prior to the 3 pm matinee. The young company at Stoneham Theatre is offering an acting workshop using materials that directly relate to the production of Steel Magnolias. All workshop participants will then have the opportunity to attend the 3 pm matinee performance. Recommended age for participants: grades 10-12 (grades 7-9 with parental permission). Limited to 20 students. The $25 per person fee includes a student prIce Ticket to the show. Further information can be obtained by contacting Laura Smith, Education Assistant, 781-279-7885 x114, email@example.com.