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Steel Magnolias

The Love Street Playhouse production of 'Steel Magnolias' stars, from left, Cindy Heikkala of Vancouver as Clairee, Patricia Rohrbach of Vancouver as Ouiser, Jessica Wisniewski of Woodland as Shelby, Karen Cleveland of Vancouver as M'Lynn, Rebecca York of La Center (Wash.) as Truvy and Rebekah Skinner of La Center as Annelle.

The 12th season of Love Street Playhouse productions kicks off with a revival of one of the playhouses’ most popular shows, “Steel Magnolias.”

The story by Robert Harling is being brought to the Love Street stage after 10 years with the first performance set for Feb. 13 at the the playhouse, 126 Loves Ave., Woodland.

The story touches on love, loss and enduring friendship and follows the lives of six Southern women as they share their personal triumphs, tragedies, beauty tips and more in Truvy’s Beauty Salon in Chinquapin, La.

The women can be as delicate as the magnolia flower, but, when needed, as tough as steel, notes a press release from the playhouse.

“There is something about these characters and their stories that are timeless and continue to resonate with the audiences, no matter what decade the show is produced,” artistic director and Love Street Playhouse owner Melinda Pallotta, is quoted in the press release.

Vancouver resident J Christopher Cleveland is director. The cast consists of seasoned veterans and newcomers. Rebecca York of La Center, Wash., portrays quick-witted hair salon owner Truvy. Shelby, an independent young woman trying to live her life her way despite a chronic medical condition, is played by Woodland resident Jessica Wisniewski. New stylist Annelle, who has an interesting past, is portrayed by La Center resident Rebekah Skinner. Karen Cleveland of Vancouver plays Shelby’s mother M’Lynn; the millionaire society woman Clairee is portrayed by Vancouver resident Cindy Heikkala; and Vancouver resident Patricia Rohrbach plays rich curmudgeon Ouiser.

Harling wrote the play after his sister, who fought diabetes for years, died in 1985. She was 33 years old and left behind her husband and their son. Harling created the characters based on his sister, mother and other women in his Louisiana hometown. The short story turned into a healing memoir and a way to provide his nephew with a sense of his past, notes the press release. It grew into a play and a film version was released in 1989 starring Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis in the lead female roles.

The Love Street production creative team includes Melinda Pallotta, scene and sound design; Patricia Rohrbach, costume and wig design; Lou Pallotta, managing director in charge of set design and construction; Longview resident Mikail Nordquist, lighting design; and Maria Tuz-Manrique, production stage manager.

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Local business sponsors and advertisers contributing to the Love Street Playhouse include the Port of Woodland, Holland America Flowers, Benno and Klazina Dobbe of Woodland, Woodland Truck Line, Conkle Properties LLC of Lake Oswego (Ore.), Lou Pallotta of Chianti Club Productions, Columbia River Carbonates of Woodland, Maple Ridge BnB operated by Tim and Lee Welch of Woodland, the Lelooska Foundation, Erica Rodman of Woodland Real Estate, Sproos Tap House of Woodland, the Woodland Care Center, State Farm Insurance of Woodland, Hooked on Embroidery of Woodland and the Last Frontier Casino of La Center (Wash.)

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