MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

May 7, 2012

Staff, administrators bring ‘Steel Magnolias’ to stage

— If you go

“Steel Magnolias,” a Tiger Theatre Staff Presentation.

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Fort Gibson High School auditorium, 500 S. Ross St.

Tickets are $5 at the door.

Information: (918) 478-2474.

By Wendy Burton

Times Editor

Prepare to laugh, possibly cry, when Fort Gibson Public School staff and administrators bring “Steel Magnolias” to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“Six women with big hair, big personalities, and even bigger hearts” bring the story alive at the Fort Gibson High School Auditorium. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Director Melanie Wicks, also the school’s drama teacher, will play the darling bride-to-be, Shelby. Wicks decided to gather her friends for a fun production — friends who “really fit their parts,” Wicks said.

“The play is a stage version of the movie, and it has no male roles in it,” Wicks said. “It will actually just be six women, and the whole play takes place in Truvy’s beauty shop.”

Truvy, played by Assistant Superintendent Linda Clinkenbeard, is the quirky beauty salon owner.

Clinkenbeard said she hasn’t been in a play since high school herself, but she’s having fun.

“Truvy has a big personality as well as other big assets,” Clinkenbeard said. “And she is the peace maker — always trying to make peace throughout the play, and she is romantic to the core.”

Clinkenbeard said she rather stumbled into the part.

“Oh Melanie was talking about the possibility of doing something like this with the staff, and they were having a hard time finding someone to play Truvy,” Clinkenbeard said, laughing. “And I think I made a casual remark like, ‘That would be fun’ and the next think I know she had me a script.”

Playing the part of Clairee, the southern debutante, is Thrissa Johnson. Janet Freeling plays Ouizer, played by Shirley McClain in the popular movie, and Megan Anderson brings Annelle to life.

Beth Brannon plays M’Lynn, Shelby’s mother.

Brannon has been assisting Wicks for about three years with drama productions and speech and debate, she said.

Wicks talked her into playing a teacher in “Grease,” and she had a great time. So she let Wicks talk her into “Steel Magnolias” too.

“We’re having an awesome time — getting to pretend to be someone else is really fun,” Brannon said.

Brannon said the theme of the production, the real message, is that friends and community are important — such as the small town of Fort Gibson’s.

“‘Steel Magnolias’ is very funny, lots of funny lines,” she said. “We laugh every time we rehearse, but of course it has that kind of bittersweet ending to it also.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

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