Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Arts & Science Center For Southeast Arkansas

This theatre troupe performed to sold-out crowds

Nickelodeon's Beloved Blue's Clues Hosts Reunite This Weekend

Prominently situated in downtown Pine Bluff, the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas is a beacon for all things art in the region. In this facility, they offer art exhibitions, various educational classes, and year-round theatre, both for adults and the younger thespians. For my first trip to this fabulous facility, I was treated on Sundy, March 19, to the classic STEEL MAGNOLIAS in the Adam B. Robinson Jr. Black Box Theater, 701 South Main Street, in Pine Bluff.

Nickelodeon's Beloved Blue's Clues Hosts Reunite This WeekendWritten by Robert Harling and directed by Lindsey Collins, STEEL MAGNOLIAS is based on Harling's sister who lived with Type 1 Diabetes. Set on Saturdays in a hair salon owned by Truvy (Portia Jones) in Northwest Louisiana, the regulars gather to get their hair fixed for whatever occasions they have going on for that weekend. The opening scene is based around Shelby (K Brejai), the diabetic, who is getting ready for her wedding. M'Lynn (Tracy Sutherland) is her mother who wants what is best for her daughter; Annelle (Kayla Earnest) is the new-in-town beautician; Clairee (Pam Holcomb) is the wife of the deceased mayor; and Ouiser (M. Debra Hester) is the town grump. As the play progresses, the women deal with the news of Shelby's pregnancy, surgery, and ultimate death. These and other events prove that these women are there for each other and can withstand whatever life brings them.

These women had great chemistry, and the audience on Sunday afternoon felt it, as evident to all of the sold-out performances. They were sassy, reacted well off of each other, and let each other have their moments. Brejai was precious as Shelby. She was actually glowing as if she were a new bride and then a new mother. Her fragility was emitted as she had the diabetic seizure, so much so that it was almost too much to watch without tearing up and look around for an actual doctor. Sutherland was "strong as steel" as she helped her daughter through her problems. She was convincing as a mother who wanted her daughter to make good decisions, and equally heartbreaking when she had her breakdown after Shelby's death. Jones' Truvy was sympathetic and took care of her friends. Nickelodeon's Beloved Blue's Clues Hosts Reunite This WeekendShe played well off of Earnest, who had the most transformation to do in the play. Earnest was convincing as the painfully shy new girl who had a lot of mysterious history, but then she became more assertive as her character blossomed. Also, she expertly protrayed her character similarily to the movie version, which was a wonderful surprise. Holcomb, making her onstage debut, was delightful as Clairee and brought the laughs when it was her turn. And of course, everyone thought Hester was a hoot as Ouiser. She commanded the stage and tossed around the sarcastic one-liners with ease.

Though the cast was enjoyable to watch, a production cannot run smoothly without help from the technical crew. Assisting Director Collins was: Keiren Minter-Stage Manager and Sound; Arin Bell-Lighting Operator; Pam Holcomb-Costume Coordinator; Raymond Wallace-Stage Crew, and everyone helped with Set Construction and Set Painting.

Nickelodeon's Beloved Blue's Clues Hosts Reunite This Weekend

In April, CHARLOTTE'S WEB will be over on the Main Stage, and then they head back to the Black Box for THE LAST FIVE YEARS in June. For a complete list of what the Arts Center has to offer, visit their website at This place is amazing!


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