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LAS CRUCES COMMUNITY THEATRE

LCCT’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ brings director home

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Las Cruces Community Theatre (LCCT)’s production of “Steel Magnolias” opens Friday, Sept. 30, at LCCT, 313 N. Main St. downtown for a three-weekend run.

“I am thrilled and honored to have another opportunity to work with LCCT and its board and volunteers for the 60th anniversary season of the theatre,” said Greg Thompson of El Paso, who is directing the play. “I’m very proud of the work I’ve gotten to do here, and we always love getting to come see LCCT’s productions. It is an important part of our community and the work and passion that goes into their shows is evident.                         

“Since early childhood I was very close to my great-grandmother, Bessie Lona Smart Ferguson,” Thompson said. “She was born in another century – 1892, to be exact – and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Whenever she knew we were traveling from Tennessee to North Carolina to visit, she would prepare for one of our great fishing trips, just her and me. She felled a tree across Cane Creek that served as a foot log for crossing and a perch from which to sit and fish with our hand-cut cane poles and freshly dug earthworms. She’d make bologna sandwiches and a couple of mayonnaise jars of sweet, iced tea. I never felt more loved, nor more special. She lived to be 97 and had broken both hips – one of them twice. I never heard her complain, ever. She was resilient, smart and opinionated and I like to think she is very much a part of me. She certainly shaped me in many ways.”

“Last time LCCT staged Steel Magnolias (during its 2012-13 season), I stepped into the role of Shelby just a few days before we opened,” said Nora Brown, who is playing M’Lynn in this production. “I'm excited to have the opportunity to play the other side of that central mother/daughter relationship now, 10 years later. With a brilliant director, hard-working cast and top-notch production team, this production will be worthwhile for everyone, from Steel Magnolias newbies to people who can quote every line of the movie.”

“This show is so beloved by audiences; the characters are so real and complex,” said Judy Parker, who is playing Ouiser. “Greg has helped us to find wonderful nuances in our interactions on stage. He also has a great talent for physical comedy. I'm so pleased to have been given the opportunity to be part of this wonderful cast. It goes down as one of my favorites in my almost 40 years in community theatre.” Parker is a newcomer to Las Cruces; Steel Magnolias is her first Las Cruces production.

“As a newcomer to both LCCT and Las Cruces, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to play Clairee in Steel Magnolias and to be surrounded by such gifted fellow actors,” said Sheri C. Reinhart. “Greg Thompson is an intuitive and insightful director with a real flair for ‘making moments.’ The professionalism of both those onstage and off is top notch. And we manage to throw in a healthy dose of fun while we get to know each other on the rehearsal journey. It’s great to be onstage after a five-year hiatus.”   

“Getting to be a part of this iconic show has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” said Courtney Curtis, who plays Truvy. “Working with these ladies, some of whom I’ve known and some new to me has been amazing. The women in this show all bring something unique to their roles and I am in awe of the talent that surrounds me daily as we all push each other to grow and make bold choices. The show, in itself, is about the unspoken bonds of women, life’s ups and downs, and their resilience. Working with Greg Thompson is a magic experience because we get to explore, play, and be vulnerable in a way that most directors don’t bring out of you. I am honored to be playing this headstrong female and I can’t wait to share her life with you.”

“What a delightful and poignant production of Steel Magnolias. A journey of powerful emotions and even more powerful women of the South,” said Jane Rawer, the show’s stage manager. “Each cast member has embodied her character and the end result is truly heart-warming. Not a show to be missed.”                                                

“I feel so at home with the women in this play – both the characters and the actors, themselves,” Thompson said. “They are much like the women in my own family, mom and sister, my grandmothers and great grandmothers, aunts and great aunts. I was truly lucky to grow up with all those women in my life. I saw how they supported one another and gave so much to our family and me and I am so grateful for that. And I see that same kind of connection and support among the women in the cast.”

Performances of “Steel Magnolias” are 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Oct. 7-8 and 14-15; and 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 2, 9 and 16.

Tickets are $17 for adults; $14 for seniors, students and military; and $10 for children.

Visit www.lcctnm.org/steel-magnolias to purchase tickets online. You can also buy them at the box office before each performance.

Call LCCT at 575-523-1200.

Las Cruces Community Theatre, Steel Magnolias