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An iconic story of femininity and fortitude opens at Peoria Players Theatre on October 5. Steel Magnolias, most known for its 1989 movie adaption, tells the hilarious and harrowing story of six women who are strong as steel and beautiful as magnolias.

Written by Robert Harling to cope with the death of his diabetic sister, the play is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in fictional Chinquapin, Louisiana. It opens with the women getting ready for the wedding of Shelby Eatenton, played by newcomer Jacqueline Schwazentraub. Her over-protective mother M’Lynn, played by Trish Ballard, tries to convince Shelby what is best for her as Shelby lives with type I diabetes.

The cast is rounded out by Lana Warner who plays the old curmudgeon Ouiser, Cheri Beever who plays the eccentric and rich Clairee, Autumn Vandeven as sweet Annelle, and new to Peoria Players’ stage Kimberly Roe as beauty shop owner Truvy. To get into the part, Roe even observed an actual hair dresser at work.

“These women are so talented and dedicated to their parts,” said director Susan Hazzard. “Many people are familiar with the characters from the movie, but these women bring their own flair and make you feel like you’re hanging out in the beauty salon with them.”

Light design is by Wayne Carey, set design is by O2C Designs, and costumes are by Sandy Cheeseman.

Hazzard said she hopes the show reinvigorates friendships and family ties. “This is definitely a show to go see with your friends or family,” she said. “I hope people will be walking out of the theatre valuing their loved ones more deeply.”

Tickets for Steel Magnolias are now on sale. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for those 20 and younger. You can purchase tickets by visiting peoriaplayers.org or by calling the box office at 309-688-4473. Performances will take place on October 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 at 7:30 pm and October 7 and 14 at 2:00 pm.

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