Southern staple ‘Steel Magnolias’ hits stage in Corinth

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – “There is no such thing as natural beauty.”
“I love ya more than my luggage.”
“That sanctuary looks like it’s been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.”
One of the most beloved and quotable movies of all time is coming to life, courtesy of Corinth Theatre-Arts.
CTA presents the Southern comedy “Steel Magnolias” this weekend at the Crossroads Playhouse. Except for one difference, the production is faithful to the movie, which starred Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts and Sally Field.
“There are no male characters in the play version,” said director David Maxedon. “This is just the six ladies. It’s exactly the same. ‘The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize,’ the famous quotes – it’s all there.”
The ladies and their famous lines are given the chance to shine with male characters like Drum, Jackson and Spud out of the picture.
Maxedon said many of the actresses in the CTA production are new to Corinth’s theater or are returning after many years’ absence.
That’s the case for Mary McRae, who plays Shelby, and Cindy Howie, who plays Truvy.
Both are new to CTA, but know each other well. Howie teaches theater at Tishomingo County schools, and McRae was one of her students.
The pair said these roles are a ton of fun – but there’s also a bit of pressure in playing such famous roles.
“The bar’s already set really high, but at the same time that makes it exciting,” Howie said.
McRae agreed.
“Shelby’s such a popular character, and I feel like I’ve gotta do her justice,” she said.
Like any good “Steel Magnolias” fans, the pair have their favorite lines.
Howie likes Truvy’s mantra about natural beauty, which she even has up on the wall of her salon.
McRae likes one of Shelby’s saucier lines: “We went skinny dipping and we did things that frightened the fish.”
Maxedon invites fans of the movie, and those who’ve never seen it, to see how the actresses bring these characters to life.
“This is one of those classic comedy shows,” he said. “Every delectable line is there.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Dim the lights
What: Corinth Theatre-Arts presents “Steel Magnolias”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Crossroads Playhouse, Corinth

Cost: $12/adults, $6/students

Info: (662) 287-2995

• “Steel Magnolias” cast: Barbara Rogers (Ouiser); Anne Cross (Clairee); Cindy Howie (Truvy); Twila Bridges (M’Lynn); Mary McRae (Shelby); Ashley Johnson (Annelle)