California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV) Acting Conservatory students bring southern charm to Los Angeles County in their upcoming production of "Steel Magnolias," a story about dealing with loss through love and friendship. Taking place at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in October, this production is the first of the 2018-2019 school year for the Acting Conservatory, and stars an all-female cast of students in grades nine through 12.

Jay Wallace, CSArts-SGV Chair of Theatre, said "Steel Magnolias" is different from last season's productions ("The Yellow Boat," "Elephant's Graveyard"), which were more stylistic and experimental. "It felt right to start the season with a play that was filled with good-natured humor, delightfully spirited characters and a dose of heartbreak. This will help round out a season that will be full of surprises as well as commercial fare," Wallace said, adding that the goal of the Acting Conservatory is to provide students an opportunity to explore theater through a diverse range of styles and genres.

Written by Robert Harling, "Steel Magnolias" is a dark comedy set in a beauty salon and follows a tightly-knit group of women who share an unbreakable bond, even in the midst of tragedy. The play illustrates the power of generosity and humor while acknowledging the hardship that is inevitably part of life. "Steel Magnolias" celebrates friendship and the empowerment of women.

"This particular piece is intended to be authentic, ripe with humor and full of love. Our goal is to drop the audience right into Truvy's Beauty Salon and douse them with the banter, jibes and the sheer heart of this group of women," Wallace said.

"I'd also like to offer a special thanks to the Sierra Madre Playhouse," continued Wallace. "For a second season, they have welcomed us in to their charming theater with open arms. This partnership is the beginning of a greater mission to build a strong community arts alliance throughout the greater San Gabriel Valley region. I look forward to future collaboration."

"Steel Magnolias" is the first production in a long list of exciting performances by CSArts-SGV's School of Theatre. This season, the Musical Theatre Conservatory will present the all-school musical "Newsies," as well as the world premiere of "The Merry Lives of Windsor High," a rock musical inspired by William Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor." During the spring semester, Acting Conservatory students return to Sierra Madre Playhouse to present the dramatic comedy "She Kills Monsters," which is about a young girl who grows closer to her deceased sister through the fantasy game "Dungeons & Dragons."

"Steel Magnolias" takes place Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Oct. 21 at 2 p.m., Oct 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at sgv.csarts.net/boxoffice for $20, or at the door for $25.

California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV) provides a creative, challenging and nurturing environment that offers bright and talented students unparalleled preparation for higher education and a profession in the arts. CSArts-SGV is the first satellite school to open in a network of public charter schools being established by the California School of the Arts Foundation, an organization created to replicate the award-winning, 30-year model established by Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA).

CSArts-SGV opened on Aug. 14, 2017, in a unique public-private partnership with the Duarte Unified School District, and is a tuition-free, donation-dependent program for seventh through 12th-grade students. CSArts-SGV students study in one of the 10 arts conservatories offered including acting, classical & contemporary dance, commercial dance, creative writing, instrumental music, integrated arts, musical theatre, production & design, visual arts and vocal arts. Students receive opportunities to participate in master classes, guest artist presentations, field trips and performances, as well as a variety of campus clubs and activities. Small student/teacher ratios in academic and arts classes allow for personalized attention to students.

CSArts-SGV is located at 1401 Highland Avenue, Duarte, CA. For more information, visit sgv.csarts.net.


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