Steel Magnolias opens at Pec Playhouse Feb. 9

Pec Playhouse Theatre presents the touching, yet humorous, drama Steel Magnolias as its first production of their 2007 theater season.

The well-known play by Robert Harling was the inspiration for the movie of the same name, which featured an all-star cast including Julia Roberts, Sally Field and Shirley MacLaine.

The story is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, La., where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done.

Centered on a group of gossipy Southern ladies in a small-town beauty parlor, the play is alternately hilarious and touching and, in the end, reveals the strength and purposefulness of their friendship despite their antic banter among themselves.

Unlike the film, the play’s cast consists of only six women, and each role is a great opportunity to perform, presenting its own challenges and rewards. The ensemble cast includes returning Pec Playhouse alumna Renee Allen as Truvy, owner of the salon, a converted garage that serves as the setting of the play.

Also returning to the stage are Jessica Barkdoll and Diane Grosvenor-Johnson. Barkdoll portrays Shelby, the youngest member of the group, in one of her most dramatic roles with the theater. Grosvenor-Johnson, a veteran of the stage with Pec Playhouse and other venues for many years, plays the ever-surly Ouiser.

New to the Pec Playhouse stage as Clairee is Penny Wiegert, whose previous stage work has included many productions with Byron Civic Theatre.

Also new to the PPT stage is Jessica Boggie and her mother, Julie Boggie. Jessie plays Annelle, while her real-life mother, Julie, portrays M’Lynn, Shelby’s mother, who must endure one of the most painful moments a mother can endure as the story unfolds to its dramatic climax.

The play is directed by Jennifer Nordlof, an experienced actor and director in the Rockford area for many years. With a bachelor’s degree from Monmouth College and an master’s degree from Northern Illinois University in theater, Nordlof has enjoyed performing at Rock Valley College Studio and Starlight theaters, Main Street Players of Boone County, and Y-Knot Productions in Rockford. She has also directed productions for Monmouth College, Northern Illinois University and Y-Knot Productions.

Nine performances of the play are scheduled for Feb. 9-25, with show times at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. matinees Sundays. Tickets are $10 for all seats and are available from the box office or from German-American State Bank in Pecatonica at (815) 239-1700. Season subscriptions are also available at a 20 percent savings and range from $32 to $40 for either four or five shows of its 16th season.

In a recent decision by the Pec Playhouse Theatre Board of Directors, NAT patrons may redeem their unused NAT tickets to all five shows of Pec’s 2007 season, which includes Steel Magnolias, The Curious Savage, Wait Until Dark, Escanaba in da Moonlight and The Sound of Music. Pec Playhouse’s ticket reservation policy allows all patrons to reserve tickets over the phone using a credit card, but gives them the option to pay cash on the day of show instead. Credit cards are not charged unless the patron chooses to do so, or reserve ticket patrons fail to attend the performance without prior cancellation. NAT patrons should follow the same procedure, but can use their tickets same as cash the day of performance.

NAT tickets for shows running Dec. 15, 2006, or later will be honored. Although reserving tickets in advance is not required, it is strongly suggested, as the converted space venue is sized at only 120 seats, and demand for this season’s shows is expected to rise above previous seasons. Walk-in patrons are always welcome, provided tickets are still available.

For more information, contact the box office at 239-1210 or visit the Pec Playhouse Theatre Web site at

From the Feb. 7-13, 2007, issue

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