Steel Magnolias, Kootenay-style
Get ready to cry.
When the classic weeper Steel Magnolias came out in 1989, with a script that celebrated enduring female friendship, it starred an A-list cast that included Julie Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton.
The Kootenay version promises to be just as star-studded.
When putting together the upcoming stage adaptation of Magnolias, director Heather Shippitt sourced six of the most recognizable faces in Nelson — Lisel Forst, Jenna Raider Skidmore, Pat Henman, Patti Humphries, Krista Lynch and Molly Strachan.
And now she can’t wait to get to work.
“Working with people that have this level of expertise is completely different than working with students,” said Shippit.
“These are basically the Hollywood stars of Nelson.”
Shippit teaches drama at Mount Sentinel Secondary. She has directed adult shows before — she worked with Lucas Myers years ago — but feels she’s grown as a director since, and is ready for a new challenge. She was drawn to the script because of the poignant relationship between the women.
She loves the multi-generational element of the script, and how it brings together radically different personalities.
“Instead of Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts, you’ve got Lisel Forst and Pat Henman. The level of talent in this show is just unbelievable.”
Shippit said they’re aware that the movie version probably has huge fans who will turn out for their Capitol Theatre version, and though they don’t want to “break their hearts” by changing anything, they want it to have a particularly Kootenay feel.
“We actually haven’t been talking about the movie as much as we’ve been working on dialects and the relationships between characters,” she said.
“It’s such a powerful story. You should be prepared for some epic emotional moments.”
Steel Magnolias is the latest show from Black Productions following Cabaret, Chicago and Rock of Ages. It will run from May 25 to 28 at the Capitol Theatre.