‘Steel Magnolias’ coming to Cullman

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Chellie Letson will play the role of Annelle in the Cullman Community Theatre production of “Steel Magnolias.” (Cullman Community Theatre/Facebook)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Community Theatre’s (CCT) first 2023 performance will be the southern favorite “Steel Magnolias” on Feb. 16-19 at the Traditions Bank venue on Cullman’s west side.  

Director Rodney Basenburg said the board of directors reviewed several plays before choosing “Steel Magnolias” as its next production. He said it’s a play he has always wanted the opportunity to direct. 

The original play, written by Dothan, Alabama, native Robert Harling, was written as a form of therapy after Harling’s sister’s death from diabetic complications in 1985. Initially penned as a short story for Harling’s nephew to have an account of his mother’s life, the story turned into a play within two weeks. 

The play was produced off-Broadway beginning in 1987 and Harling wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film version, which starred many notable names including Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis. 

Set in northwest Louisiana, the play tells the story of the Eatenton family, specifically matriarch M’Lynn and her daughter Shelby, as Shelby marries her fiancé and bears a son against her doctor’s recommendation due to her diabetes. Truvy Jones, the local beautician, hires the new-to-town recent cosmetology school graduate Annelle Dupuy. Rounding out the cast of characters are the former mayor’s widow Clairee Belcher and her best friend, the curmudgeon Ouiser Boudreaux. 

Cast and members of CCT’s production include: 

  • M’Lynn – Carron Clark 
  • Shelby – Savannah Smith 
  • Truly – Melissa Lawler 
  • Ouiser – Drenda Walker 
  • Annelle – Chellie Letson 
  • Clairee – Laura Harris 
  • Director – Rodney Basenburg 
  • Co-director – Nick Shabel 
  • Production Operations Director – Noah Carpenter 
  • Costumes/Makeup – Paige Clabo 
  • Hospitality/House Manager – Casey Sandlin 

Tickets are $30 and are currently available from a cast or crew member. Online ticket sales will begin on Jan. 16. The Feb. 16-18 performances will include dinner with the ticket price. The matinee show on Feb. 19 will not include a meal. The Traditions Bank venue is located at 109 Second Ave. NW. 

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