Steel Magnolias performance emphasizes the importance of strong relationships

promo poster - Steel Magnolias - Sept 28 to Oct 1

Hesston College Theatre will highlight the resilience of strong relationships in their fall play production of “Steel Magnolias” from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1. With lessons about patience, understanding and love, it is a show that audience members will find emotionally engaging. Please note: While this show is full of laughter and love, it deals with some heavier themes of illness, loss of a child, breakups and breakdowns which may not be appreciated or understood by younger audience members. Performances will be held in the Keim Center Black Box Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Set in a Louisiana beauty shop, “Steel Magnolias” is the story of six wonderful women who share a fierce loyalty to one another through haircuts and hardships. This comedic drama focuses keenly on M’Lynn and the push/pull she has with Shelby, her headstrong, loving daughter. When their family experiences a tragedy, it’s the friendship of Truvy, Annelle, Clairee and Ouiser that helps M’Lynn embrace the hurt and move forward. An award-winning film, “Steel Magnolias” was first a play by Robert Harling, who wrote this as a remembrance of his sister. The show was adapted to film in 1989 with Harling as a cast member before the 2012 remake with an all African American cast which received critical acclaim.

“I think this show is a strong representation of how we begin relationships in our own lives, letting people see only a small portion.” said Director Rachel Jantzi. “It’s when that friendship deepens that most people feel comfortable enough to let others see their pain. ‘Steel Magnolias’ walks us through an evolution of friendship and trust in less than two hours.”

The cast includes Hesston College students Joy Jones, Alyssa Coonce, Hadassa Friesen, Emma Killingsworth, Desirae Rodriguez and Caroline Miller. The stage managers are Josh Fleming and Christian Ryan.

“This cast and crew of students have helped create a kind and supportive rehearsal environment,” said Jantzi. “The process from auditions to opening night has felt much quicker than past years which could be a stressful situation. Rather than grumbling, they are viewing the show as a way to build up their own relationships – which is helpful as it mirrors this sweet story of deepened friendships.”

Ticket prices are $5 for students and $10 for adults and seniors. Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Hesston College Bookstore or by phone at 620-327-8105.

High school students are invited to a matinee performance during the annual Hesston College TheatreFest on Wednesday, September 27. This day-long event is structured to equip actors and tech crew members with skills necessary in the theatre industry, advance their abilities and have fun. Students will have an opportunity to audition and interview for a theatre scholarship after the performance. To register and learn more, visit