Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, March 30, 2001

The cast of "Steel Magnolias" are (front row, from left)
Stefanie Anderson as hairdresser Truvy; Lisa Young as
Shelby; Rebecca Phillips as Annelle, also a hairdresser;
Amber Nicolson as M'Lynn; (back row) Wisa D'Orso
as Clairee, left, and Sharon Adair as Ouiser.

Girls rule, y’all

Southern belles are in full bloom
in 'Steel Magnolias'

By John Berger
Honolulu Star-Bulletin

THERE AREN'T ENOUGH PARTS for tall blonde women in local theater these days but Stefanie Anderson is returning at last, and with a great role, in Diamond Head Theatre's latest production of "Steel Magnolias." Anderson is playing Truvy Jones, the owner of the mythical Louisiana beauty parlor where the other "magnolias" congregate.

Jo Anne Worley played Truvy, and Jim Hutchison and Jerry Tracy were co-directors, when DHT presented Robert Harling's slice-of-southern-life almost exactly 11 years ago. This time the director is Sean T.C. O'Malley of Loose Screws fame.

"Sean's whole creative process is different than the average director and it's been a real learning experience to get some of the improvisational background. There's a tree that's very important, and he had a radio going the whole time we're up there with songs that apply to the show. It's been interesting being up there and having the music to work with. We're waiting to see how much the audience is going to get."

The show follows the lives of six women of various ages as they experience the highs and lows of everyday life. The characters are southern but their experiences are those of Americans everywhere.

"I think it's a 'women's show' and I'm proud to say that because I think women can relate, but I think men can come in a have a good time too. It isn't just a bunch of women gossiping in a beauty shop."

"This play has a lot of soul and it's very funny. There are a lot of words but they take you through everything. Highs and lows and everything. I think it leaves you a little like 'Jake's Women' (which she starred in for Manoa Valley Theatre last year) did, thinking a little about life," said Anderson. "My favorite quote in the play is 'I'd rather have 30 minutes of Wonderful than a lifetime of nothing.' That's not from the character I play but I identify with it."

Anderson says that comedy is her thing but she enjoyed doing something a little darker last fall when she was cast with Dion Donahue, Sylvia Hormann-Alper and Richard Pellett in Army Community Theatre's readers theatre production of "The Cripple of Inishmaan."

"I'm a character actor. I go for the characters than are really fun or really terrible. I don't like the middle of the road. And, I love to do comedies. I love the idea that people are going to come in and they're going to laugh. We have had some rehearsals when I was crying because I was laughing so hard. It's good for the soul to laugh once in a while."

Steel Magnolias

Showing: At 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; and 4 p.m. Sundays, March 30- April 15
Place: Diamond Head Theatre, 734-0274
Call: 734-0274
Cost: $10 $40, with discounts for students, seniors and military

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