JAX Theatre, the theatrical troupe operating out of G-Entertainment in the old Wheelersburg cinema, will be closing their first ever season with the tear-jerking and comedic tale, “Steel Magnolias”.
“Steel Magnolias” is based off of the 1989 movie starring Dolly Parton, Sallie Field and Julia Roberts. The play began as an off-Broadway production and was eventually moved to Broadway in 2005. The story is about a group of women of various ages and backgrounds tackling some of life’s biggest feats while being there for each other. This family oriented play is sure to be enjoyable by just about anyone needing something to do over the weekend, while exposing themselves to the local artistic community.
JAX Theatre was built on the belief that entertainment can be G-rated and be enjoyed by the entire family. Their first ever production was Christmas Carol and was sort of a test run to see how successful a theatrical troupe would be. After a successful run, they decided to journey on with “Steel Magnolias”.
“’Steel Magnolias’ is about six very different girls that are there for each other and help each other out during the trying times in each other’s lives,” director Kristen Nickles said. “It really is a fantastic show and experience for the entire family. It comes packed with lessons while also showcasing some pretty great humor.”
“I chose the show because it has always been one of my favorite movies,” director Carrie Ford said. “When we had the opportunity to do the show and had the talented cast to pull it off, I was excited to see the show become a possibility.
Casting definitely had a role in the decision of choosing “Steel Magnolias” as JAX’s spring show.
“We had a very talented group of ladies available for whichever show we chose and most of them are close friends that are moving away for college come fall,” explained Ford. “We thought that this would be an excellent chance to allow them to work together one last time before they all went their separate ways. So based on that concept, we chose ‘Steel Magnolias’. We have a lot of great people in the cast and the crew that really make this show what it is.”
“This show is family oriented and will appeal to a large sum of people, but the biggest crowd pleased will be women and children of the 80’s,” director Bobbi Ford White said. “Not all guys will admit to it, but they’ll really enjoy it, too.”
Sarah Diamond Burroway, a second year actress in community theatre supports art all over the tri-state area not only by acting, but in her arts column in the Greenup Beacon and her tumblr blog ‘Taking an Intermission for the Arts.’” Sarah has been in six shows and works in murder mystery improve.
“I’m playing Clairee Belcher, widow of formal Chinquapin Parish mayor Lloyd Belcher,” Burroway said. “Clairee is neighbor to M’lynn and Shelby Eatenton and friends of the rest of the ladies in the show. My character us really charitable, she is always trying to help out in some way during the play. It’s been a really good experience working with the other actresses. With a cast of this size we’ve really developed some rapport on and off stage.”
Burroway is happy to be making her way into the Portsmouth area theatre as she explores what the tri-state has to offer and is sure that “Steel Magnolias” is going to be a great show to start off with.
“I think the audience is going to really enjoy the production,” Burroway said. “It is a story everyone already enjoys and loves, and it’s going to be our own little tri-state spin on it.
Joanna Berner, Paramount Player and Ashland local, has been involved in theatre since she was thirteen and has been in twelve shows just in the past year alone.
“I think JAX has a wonderful little space, has a gorgeous theatre, and it has been a real good time working with everybody,” Berner said. “I’ve loved being a part of this production. I’ve done a lot of musicals lately, so it is nice to get into a straight drama and just really get into character.”
This is the first time Berner has appeared on a Portsmouth area stage and will portray the ringleader of the group and mother to Shelby, M’lynn Eatenton.
“’Steel Magnolias’ revolves around the lives of six southern women. It follows the life of the youngest member, Shelby Eatenton, from her wedding day, to pregnancy, and then into a few other incidents following that. It’s about family, friendship and loyalty; these women stand by each other through the entire play.”
Aundrea Cline is a junior at West High School and is going into her third theatrical year and seventh show.
“I think my part fits me pretty well, because she is shy and timid until she gets to know you and then she becomes pretty comfortable and open,” Cline said. “The play starts off with Truvy hiring her as an assistant in the beauty shop and she eventually becomes a part of the family.”
Cline will be making her first appearance in a straight drama with “Steel Magnolias” and has enjoyed working with everyone during the production. Cline said that everyone has been really easy to work and has supported her a lot, even giving her rides to and from rehearsal.
“I think that everybody will enjoy this show and not just one group of people” Cline said. “It is a great show with lessons to be learned and has a great cast and crew making it happen!”
Hannah Storey, freshman at Berea University, is hoping to pursue a theatrical major starting in the fall. Storey has been in eight local shows and is happy to be wrapping up her time in Portsmouth with her friends and family.
“Truvy owns the beautify shop and provides a service to the ladies of the show,” Hannah explained. “Truvy is quite the hopeless romantic and enjoys providing words upon romance to everyone. During the entire play, the six women are in Truvy’s shop and they confide and find strength in each other. All of the women go through trials in life, whether it is the death of a family member, the loss of a child, or the moving on of a friend. No matter what they go through they come out stronger in the end, because they have the support of their friends.”
Rosa Storey is going to Northern Colorado University for design technology with an emphasis with lighting design. Rosa has been a veteran of local theatre for many years and has appeared on many stages.
“My character starts off as a blushing bride and then moves into motherhood while battling a very trying case of diabetes that gives her a rough time accomplishing the things in life that she really wants to, Rosa said. “Shelby ends up pushing herself a lot during the play and there are real consequences for it in the end. “
Rosa says she is ready for the show date and that people will really take something from this show.
“I think people can expect to laugh a lot, cry a little bit, laugh some more, cry a little bit more, and overall just have a little fun at the theatre.”
Storey has been a part of both shows that have JAX has produced and has had a really positive experience working with them.
“They’re just a really great group of people that really work well together,” Storey explained. “They operate out of the Southern Ohio National Gospel Stage and G-Entertainment. All of their shows have a g-rating, which is refreshing for families who want to bring their kids along to shows with them. It is something just a little different from most theatres that you can get at JAX. The directors are fantastic and supporting, and provide a really great environment to work in for the cast and the crew.”
JAX is pleased to close their first ever and successful season with “Steel Magnolias”, and will be getting ready for their fall production of Sleepy Hollow as soon as they close their curtains on this season.
Show dates are July 6-7 at 7 p.m. and July 8 at 3 p.m. Tickets are now available by calling G-Entertainment at 740-574-6000 or by purchasing them at the door. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
A free haircut by Portsmouth beautician, Jessica Murphy, will raffled off during intermission and special discounts for local businesses will be found in the program. JAX invites you out to their closing season and a fantastic show that the entire family will enjoy.