Curtain closes on ‘Steel Magnolias’

Cullman Community Theatre’s recent production of “Steel Magnolias” welcomed almost 1,000 patrons. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The curtain has closed on Cullman Community Theatre’s recent production of “Steel Magnolias,” which welcomed almost 1,000 patrons. The show was a splash hit and featured some truly remarkable performances from its small cast of actors. 

“Steel Magnolias” was a truly remarkable experience. The cast was spectacular and the show was brilliantly performed. Carron Clark played M’Lynn Eatenton, the mother of the bride-to-be Shelby (Savannah Smith) with grace and compassion. Melissa Lawler starred as Truvy, the owner of the beauty shop where all the gossip takes place with her trademark wit and charm. Drendra Walker portrayed Ouiser, the cantankerous old neighbor with finesse and humor. Chellie Letson shone as Annelle, a young beautician just starting out, full of innocence and naivety. Lastly, Laura Harris brought life to Clairee Belcher, an older woman who gives sage advice and provides a lightheartedness to the drama.  

The stage was set with a single-room beauty salon in a small town, which felt very cozy and inviting. The lighting was just right, dimly lit without overpowering the actors on stage. The crew for the production provided costumes appropriate for each character and gave an additional layer of authenticity to their performances. From the moment the play began, you could really feel the deep connection between these women who came together every week at Truvy’s shop. It was almost like entering another world as we watched their lives unfold over two hours of laughter and tears. It was captivating. 

The show was full of heart and laughs, with each character bringing something unique to the performance. Every actor gave it her all and you could really feel the emotion in their performances. The setting, costumes and lighting all contributed to creating a wonderfully inviting atmosphere that left you feeling like you were part of the small town gossip at Truvy’s beauty shop. The honest, heartwarming production left the audience with smiles and chatter after the curtain call. 

“We had an incredible audience this weekend,” shared Cullman Community Theatre Operations Director Noah Carpenter. “They rolled with the punches as we had to postpone our Thursday night opener due to weather concerns. This is a roller coaster of a show, and each audience reacted and participated perfectly. We laughed together, we cried together; it was just everything we want this show to be each year!” 

Cullman Community Theatre did an incredible job putting together “Steel Magnolias.” From the talented cast of actors to the detailed set design and costumes – everything worked together to create an unforgettable experience.  

“Steel Magnolias,” written by Robert Harling in 1987, is a powerful comedy-drama that follows six women who live in Chinquapin, Louisiana. Though the play is set in a time of great change for women, it focuses on their relationships with each other as they come together to celebrate joys and tackle sorrows.  

The show was directed by Cullman Community Theatre veteran Rodney Basenburg and ran over three days at the Traditions Bank venue. The production team put together an outstanding set that made it easy for audiences to connect with this Southern classic.  

The Traditions Bank venue added to the success of the show. 

“There are always lots of nerves and anxiety when you try something in a new place, but this last year our audience’s biggest feedback was that they’d love to see us move closer to town, and we set out on the search,” Carpenter said. “We heard from friends that Traditions had this space and reached out! We stopped by early in the search for a venue and fell in love with the space first, immediately followed by falling in love with the team that manages the space! Tim and his team have been so good to us both in the form of their support of us and our organization and their hospitality to our cast and team! They turned us on to their caterer, The Freight House in Hartselle, and everyone loved them! The room turned out beautiful and we just couldn’t be happier. It’s a relationship we look forward to building on in the future!” 

Overall, “Steel Magnolias” was a unique experience that kept audiences laughing and engaged throughout. Its heartfelt story will be remembered by many as one of the Cullman Community Theatre’s finest productions. We anticipate seeing more great things from this talented group in the future.