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Steel Magnolias ready to take stage
Performances set for Thursday, Friday at Dorchester Civic Center
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Cast members of the upcoming production of Steel Magnolias practice a scene at All-Is-On Enterprises in Hinesville on Saturday evening. They are, from left, Summer Leger as Shelby, Taikha Gilyard as Truvy, Karen Cutler as MLynn, and Elizabeth Mullio as Ouiser. - photo by Photo by Cailtin Kenney

‘Steel Magnolias’ details

“Steel Magnolias” will be performed at the Dorchester Village Civic Center in Midway on Thursday and Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12, or $10 for those who wish to buy a ticket as a “gift of theatre.” Go to for more information.

A local theater production company is putting on “Steel Magnolias” this week at the Dorchester Village Civic Center in Midway.

Stage 2140 Productions LLP has cast locals to play the women-only cast of the beloved Southern story.

The play is by Robert Harling, who based the story on the death of his sister from complications of diabetes, according to

The play was made famous by a movie adaption with a star-studded cast including Sally Field and Julia Roberts, who played M’Lynn and Shelby, respectively.

The story is about a young woman named Shelby who has diabetes but desires a family, and her mother, M’Lynn, who cautiously tries to help her live a full life.

The relationship between mother and daughter is strengthened by the love of their friends who bring humor and unwavering support in their times of need.

The play takes place in a Louisiana beauty shop. The local cast has been conducting their rehearsals at All-Is-On Enterprises, a barbershop and beauty salon on E.G. Miles Parkway in Hinesville.

Natasha Childress, the executive director of Stage 2140 Productions, is a military spouse originally from Kentucky who now calls Hinesville home.

“For me, I think it’s important to invest in your community and to make your community the best that it can be while you’re there,” she said.

This is the second play she has produced with the company.

Childress calls “Steel Magnolias” a “timeless story.”

“We had several people we had to turn away, that we had such a response to it,” she said of the casting call. “But we ended up with a cast that is absolutely a powerhouse.”

Karen Cutler, who plays M’Lynn, said she has always wanted to perform in “Steel Magnolias.”

“This is a dream role for me because as M’Lynn, you really get to show a big broad spectrum of emotions,” she said.

What makes the play engaging is the relatability of the characters, according to the cast.

Taikha Gilyard, who plays Truvy, the owner of the beauty salon where the play is set, said she likes her character because she sees herself in Truvy. The role was played by Dolly Parton in the movie.

“She’s … such a sassy character, very well put together,” Gilyard said. “She likes nice things, and I can relate to her.”

“I think that’s really the appeal of ‘Steel Magnolias.’… Those are real women up there,” Cutler said of the roles. “And you’re going to find at least one of those six women that you’re going to relate to.”

“Female empowerment is my biggest goal,” Childress said of producing a female-centric play. “If there’s anything that I can possibly do in my life, (it) is to empower another woman.”

Besides being entertained, Childress said she wants the audience to see that the arts can help a community and should not just be seen a hobby.

“I want people to understand that arts organizations and arts programs can be economically stimulating to an area; they can be viable,” she said.

Community support of the audience is key to having future theater productions in the area, according to Gilyard.

“I just want them to come see a quality show and know that there is talent here,” Gilyard said. “And if given the opportunity, this is something that can be done all the time. But we need the community support. We can’t do this without them.”

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