Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Truvy Talks with SGT NYC

On Friday, I had the idea to interview the co-founders of Stomping Ground Theatre Company, Melissa Harlow and Angela Shultz, as my character Truvy from Steel Magnolias. I figured, if anyone would have a talk show, it would be Truvy!

I spoke with producer and all-around Renaissance man, Chad Miller, and he offered to film and edit the video. God bless him!

Chad turned this around quickly so we could post on Facebook and Twitter last weekend before the show ended, and I thought I'd share it with y'all here in Blogland. Welcome to Truvy Talks!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Men Behind the Magnolias

Working on Steel Magnolias at Stomping Ground Theatre Company has been such a special experience. As our stage manager, Melissa Harlow (below far left) asked, "Does every cast and crew who does this show feel this much love?" Truly, it's a lovefest, and I adore every single person onstage and off.

That leads me to today's blog. Our entire crew is made up of very talented gents! Yes, we're guided by our divine director, Angela Shultz and stage manager, Melissa Harlow, whom I introduced in my last blog, so come meet the fabulous fellows behind the construction of Steel Magnolias!

The Production designer Dan Henkel (below left) of Design 42 Architecture built the set with Joe Bergquist (middle - he's also our fabulous radio announcer in Truvy's shop) and Steven Bolt (right), who also did the graphic design for this show.

The set really blew us away. From the chekerboard floor...

... to the functioning sink where Annelle accidentally splashes M'Lynn with the hose!

The details are off the charts! One of our producers, Chad Miller, worked with Terence Buckley and Chip Kraemer to create about 20 magazines from the '80s which fill Truvy's shop! "I get McCall's, Family Circle, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Ladies Home Journal, every magazine know to man!"

Jackson Simmonds gave me some professional tips on hair - and even gave Oiser a trim! And Jerry Phelps was our dialect coach since he grew up in that part of Louisiana.

Tony Ponella is our incredible Lighting and Sound Technician (below with Melissa Harlow). Seriously, the gunshots and dog barking in Act 1/scene 1 are a symphony! And the music before-during-and-after the show are such an ode to the '80s. We dance every night!

Dustin Eastwood is our costumer designer, below with Mel.

And the sensational Scott Koonce, whom I've dubbed my son, Poot, is our Production Assistant. He helps us get set up every night, and he's responsible for The Tree of Beauty (below with our director, Angela Shultz).

Seriously, this crew makes every day feel like Christmas!

Of course, the play wouldn't exist without the talents of playwright Robert Harling, who wrote it for his sister, Susan, so her son Robert would know how much his mother fought to have a normal life despite a debilitating struggle with diabetes.

It's a beautiful show, and truly an honor to be a part of it!

We've got 3 more performances, so if you'd like to join us, please do! We're at 410 W. 40th Street. Tickets are $18. Hope to see you in the salon! ;)

Monday, March 06, 2017

Meet the Magnolias!

There's something about "Steel Magnolias" that really moves people. Maybe it's the story of the young woman who fights to "have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special," despite her deadly struggle with diabetes. Maybe it's the generations of women who surround her and worry about her, who strive to keep the world spinning with laughter and love in spite of personal tragedies. Maybe it's all of the above!

I am so incredibly honored to be opening the play by Robert Harling (based on the life of his sister and mother) this Friday at 8 PM in NYC!

This production by Stomping Ground Theatre Company is really magical, and I am amazed at all the work they've put into it. More and more details are introduced daily, and the set is incredible! Since the play takes place in Truvy's beauty salon, and I'm playing Truvy, it truly feels like my stomping ground. :) I embrace it every day!

And the ladies in the cast! Oh! There is something so wondrous about these women I'm working with! There is just so much love! It's a pleasure to go to work every day! :)

I can't wait for you to Meet the Magnolias!

I'm playing Truvy. Katie Donnelly is fabulously funny and touching as Annelle. Rebecca Hoodwin is a force of nature whom we've dubbed, "Hurricane Oiser." Katherine Alt Keener is heart-breaking as M'Lynn. From the first table read, none of us have been able to stop crying when we come to the final scene. Anna Laura Strider, a former Miss Alabama, brings so much fire to Shelby, she outshines Julia Roberts in my opinion! And Joan Valentina as Clairee is pure class! I am honored to share the stage with them and bring this story to life!

We would be nowhere without our fearless director, Angela Shultz (below right), and sensational stage manager, Melissa Harlow (below left)

These ladies are the co-founders of Stomping Ground Theatre Company, and they put the power in POWERHOUSE!

Steel Magnolias runs Friday through Sundays March 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 PM at 410 W. 40th Street.

Tickets are $18, a portion of which goes to Living Well, a life skills empowerment program at Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries for women who've experienced trauma.