“Steel Magnolias” to take the stage at PPAC

The cast of the Calumet Players production of “Steel Magnolias” re- hearses the play recently in preparation for two weekends of perfor- mances Oct. 13 to 15 and 20 to 22 at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center. Pictured are (seated in front, l-to-r) Emily Blaeser as Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, DJ Luethje as M’Lynn Eatenton, (standing, l-to-r) Diana Lejia as Truvy, Danielle Evers as Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, and (seated in back) Denise Halbur as Clairee Belcher. K. Kuphal

The Calumet Players will present “Steel Magnolias” at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center (PPAC) the weekends of Oct. 13 to 15 and 20 to 22.

The play takes place at a beauty salon in Chinquapin Parish, La. that is owned by Truvy Jones, who is played by Diana Lejia. Sylvia Newell, the play’s producer and director, described Truvy as a dreamer who loves romance. Truvy hires Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, played by Danielle Evers, to be a stylist at the salon. Other cast members include Denise Halbur as Clairee Belcher, who was the wife of the former mayor and owns the local radio station; Sirrina Martinez as Ouiser Boudreaux, a rich curmudgeon; Emily Blaeser as Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, who Newell described as bright, airy and a little bit full of herself; and DJ Luethje as M’Lynn Eatenton, Shelby’s mother.

Newell described the play as a comedy.

“It’s about friendship, it’s about romance, it’s about humor, it’s about camaraderie,” Newell said.

Newell said some of the original cast members had to drop out of the show and had to be replaced. That and some other scheduling issues have caused some challenges since rehearsals began about six weeks ago, but Newell said she has a strong cast and they’ve been rehearsing more often than usual to prepare for the upcoming performances.

The cast members come from Pipestone, Luverne, Lake Benton and Lake Wilson.

Others who have helped with the show are Stage Manager Traci Nissen and Newell’s husband Al VanBemmel who helped with the set design and construction.

The beauty salon set pieces such as salon chairs and dryers that will be used in the play were previously used in a different play that Newell was in at the PPAC several years ago. They were then loaned to another theater and then another. Newell tracked them down again for use in this play.

“You really need those things to make it look like a real beauty shop,” she said.

Steel Magnolias opens Friday, Oct. 13. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 and 20 and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 21, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15 and. 22. Tickets are $15 for adults and for $12 students and are available online at www.pipestoneperformingartscenter.com, by calling the box office at 507-825-2020, and at the door prior to the start of each show.

The Calumet Players are also hosting a southern style buffet prior to the Saturday, Oct. 21 performance, beginning at 6 p.m. in the PPAC lobby. The menu will include fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn bread, pie, coffee and tea. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets are $40 for the dinner and the performance and must be purchased in advance by calling the box office at 507-825-2020. Only 50 tickets are available for the dinner.