Innisfail Town Theatre presenting Steel Magnolias

Production opens April 27th and runs through to May 13th

ON STAGE - The cast rehearses a scene from Innisfail Town Theatre's upcoming production of Steel Magnolias.

Innisfail Town Theatre is about to unveil its latest production – the much-loved Steel Magnolias – at the Ol’ Moose Hall Thursday evening.

Penned by Robert Harling and directed by Laurie Kooy, shows run through to May 13th. General performances run April 27th and May 4th with curtain at 7 p.m. Dinner theatres run April 28th-29th; May 5th-6th and May 11th-13th.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with curtain at 7:30 p.m. There is also a brunch performance on May 7th with curtain at 12:30 p.m.

“The play actually came before the film,” explained Kooy, referring to the hit 1989 movie which starred Sally Fields and Julia Roberts. “Robert Harling wrote it about his sister who had passed away – he was trying to cope with her death. At the time, her little boy was only two, so (Harling) was worried that he would forget his mom.

“Originally it was going to be a short story that he could give to the child so he would know who his mom was.”

The first draft was written in just 10 days, and the rest is history. The play, and the film, have had an enormous impact on audiences ever since.

The story follows the often hilarious highs and sometimes heartbreaking lows that transpire among a tight knit group of Louisiana women.

“Dona (Edgar) and I decided to put our heads together and make it happen,” said Kooy, who has directed four previous shows.

The show has a cast of six. “It’s been fabulous – they are such a good group,” she said. “They are also such a cohesive group – they work well together. They’ve connected and bonded which, in this story, is essential.

“I like the story because it really puts a focus on the value of friendship, and how friendship can help get you through those tough times. Those relationships among the girls are so special.

“Its going to make everyone walking out of here feeling even better about their relationships with their buddies.”

Kooy loves the challenge of bringing a show together. “I like the big picture – taking the whole story, putting the background together – making it all fit together.”

Kooy’s husband, Ron, is also a part of the team, specializing in sound, lighting and the building of sets.

Innisfail Town Theatre was incorporated as a non-profit in 1979.

“We still have a few founding members that are active in the group,” said Laurie. “My co-director for Steel Magnolias is one of the founding members. She (Edgar) was with the group even before it became a group,” she said, adding that over the years Innisfail Town Theatre has staged about 75 productions.

Meanwhile, a hearing loop system has also been installed at the hall which will make a significant difference for the hearing impaired.

“What it does is we have these microphones on the stage, and we run that audio through an amp,” explained Ron. It then is essentially rebroadcast on the induction loop.

“All you would get during the performance is what the microphones would pick up,” he said. “So we are hoping that it’s really going to enhance the ability of patrons to enjoy the show.”

Tickets are available at The Leg Man in Innisfail. For more information, find Innisfail Town Theatre on facebook.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com