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Cast for the mammoth undertaking of ‘Steel Magnolias’ have been in rehearsals since November for this dramatic comedy by Robert Harling, made famous by the film of the same name. 
(Photo courtesy of Greg King)

Blockbuster of a story on stage thanks to NSC

By Rod Urquhart / Special

You probably remember the film version of ‘Steel Magnolias’, which came out a number of years ago with the superstar cast including the sensational trio of Sally Field, Dolly Parton and newcomer Julia Roberts.

Now is your chance to see it upfront, on stage, and personal at the Royal Canadian Legion in Newmarket at the end of February. Yes, that’s right, the venerable Newmarket Stage Company is bringing back this funny, yet touching, play – right here in Newmarket.

Famed actress Julia Roberts played Shelby in the blockbuster film version of this play about a bond a group of women share in a small-town Southern community and how they cope with the problems of life – a classic in its own right!

Produced by NSC theatre veteran Sue Meacock and skillfully directed by Teri Hallett, this play has been in rehearsals since November. It’s ready to hit the stage Feb. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 at 8 p.m. and features three matinees, Saturday, Feb. 22 and 29th and Thursday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.

And Big News – Hold the Press – for the first time in its long history, the Newmarket Stage Company is offering ‘Lunch and Theatre’ starting at noon Saturday, Feb. 22. That’s right, for a mere $10 for a tasty, light lunch and $18 for the theatre, for a total of $28, you get a meal and live theatre all in the same location, at Stage 426, the Newmarket Legion. Only 70 lunch-plus-theatre tickets will be sold for this date. (Note: only 30 theatre-only tickets will be available for this Saturday, Feb. 22, with show-only, patrons arriving after 1:15 p.m.)

The dramatic comedy of ‘Steel Magnolias’ features a stellar cast, as mentioned have been in rehearsals three times a week since November, getting perfectly prepared for this venerable classic play. The cast includes:

Cheidre Kyle Mackey plays Annelle. She is thrilled to be returning to the stage with Steel Magnolias. Cheidre has enjoyed every moment of bringing Annelle to life. With credits like ‘Hairspray’, ‘Legally Blonde’, ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’, and the ‘Gingerbread Lady’ under her belt, playing Annelle has been a challenging and rewarding departure. Collaborating with this cast and crew has been a delight and a privilege, says Cheidre. Enjoy the show!

Denise Kennedy is playing Truvy and is very happy to be following her bliss with this cast and all the great, hard-working people that make up The Newmarket Stage Company! Talk about dedication! Her past credits include ‘The Odd Couple (Female Version)’, ‘The Cemetery Club’ and ‘The Last Romance’/Newmarket Stg Co., ‘Grandma Kurnitz’/’Lost in Yonkers’ (QP Keswick and Blackhorse Theatre), ‘Steel Magnolias’ and ‘Sinners’/The Curtain Club, Marquee Productions/’Man of LaMancha’, South Simcoe Theatre/Fireworks and Theatre Aurora/’Having Hope at Home’, ‘Jenny’s Story’ and  ‘California Suite’. Heartfelt gratitude to Sue Meacock and Teri Hallatt  — the journey has been another one for the memory book! Says Denise.  “To our audience, thank you so much for your continued support of our little community theatre with the biggest heart!  Enjoy the show!”

Susan Lane plays M’Lynn. A longtime resident of Newmarket, Susan Lane is delighted to be back onstage with The Newmarket Stage Company. She applauds the amazing talent of the cast and crew of ‘Steel Magnolias’, the hard-working Board members and “our wonderful patrons who make these productions possible.”

Carol Dowell is playing the part of Ousier. Carol’s first acting began in Kindergarten where she played the role of Goldilocks in ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’. After a long absence from the theatre, she helped out backstage with props and as stage manager. In 2019, she appeared in ‘The Odd Couple (Female version)’ as Vera with the Newmarket Stage Company. She is thrilled to be cast in ‘Steel Magnolias’ and working alongside of many talented and seasoned actors. “Thanks to everyone for their support and guidance,” says Carol.

Bethany Heemskerk, who plays Shelby, is classically trained from the University of Victoria. Bethany has acted in over 20 plays from Shakespeare to Thornton Wilder. Recent credits include Lacy Graham in ‘My Narrator’ (Very Useful Theatre Company), Emily Webb in ‘Our Town’ (New Stages Theatre Company), and Mandy Prendergast in ‘Eclipsed’ (Peterborough Theatre Guild). She is excited for her first show with Newmarket Stage Company.

Kyla D’Aguiar is playing Clairee. This Manitoba girl fell in love with the stage at the age of 12, performing in musicals like the ‘Music Man’ and ‘Mame’. She also tried her hand at dinner theatre and English pantomime before switching priorities to career and family. Kyla is returning to the theatre after a 25-year hiatus. This is her first foray into the Newmarket theatre scene since moving here six years ago. “It has been a pleasure working with the wonderful ladies of the Steel Magnolias cast and crew!” she says.

A portion of the shared cash draw will be donated to the Southlake Regional Centre-Diabetes Program. ‘Steel Magnolias’ is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Services Inc. The dramatic comedy is written by Robert Harling.

Tickets at a mere $18 each, are available by calling the box office at 289-500-2114 between 2 and 4 p.m. weekdays.

Stage 426, Newmarket Legion, 707 Srigley Street, features comfortable cabaret seating.

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The further adventures of the beloved OPAL, but this time involving an unexpected old and very rich suitor…and his jealous daughter who covets the old man’s fortune. 

EVENING Shows: May 7, 8, 9,  14, 15, 16 @ 8pm

MATINEE Shows: May 9, 14, 16 @ 2pm

CALL THE BOX OFFICE AT: 289-500-2114 (between 2-4pm)