Monday, February 19, 2018

OPENING: Steel Magnolias Via Theatre at the Center Through 3/25/18

Shows On Our Radar:
Theatre at the Center Presents Steel Magnolias
in Munster, Indiana

Actors Landree Fleming and Heidi Kettenring. Photo by Guy Rhodes.

Cory Goodrich, in the role of M’Lynn, Landree Fleming, as Shelby, and Heidi Kettenring as Truvy, lead the cast of Theatre at the Center’s Steel Magnolias with Joslyn Yvonne Jones as Ouiser, Jeannie Affelder as Clairee and Myesha-Tiara as Annelle. Previews begin February 22.

I'll be out for Opening Night on February 25, so check back soon for my full review. It's well with a trip across the border and over to Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is a charming venue with professional productions and free parking, that's just a short road trip away from Chicago. We're looking forward to catching their latest.

Steel Magnolias, written by Robert Harling, is a hilarious and heart-warming play set in a Louisiana beauty shop. It follows the hopes, dreams, triumphs and tragedies of six colorful characters and inspired the 1989 film which starred Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton. It explores the bond between a mother and daughter, and friendships of those who feel like family.

Actors Myesha-Tiara, Cory Goodrich, Landree Fleming and Heidi Kettenring. Photo by Guy Rhodes.

Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, with select Thursday and Sunday night performances. Individual ticket prices range from $42 - $46. To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or at 800-511-1532. Group discounts are available for group 11 or more and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit

“Before Steel Magnolias became an iconic film and garnered an Academy Award for Julia Roberts, it was a funny and touching Off Broadway play about the bonds of friendship and family,” said Theatre at the Center Artistic Director Linda Fortunato, who will direct this new production of Steel Magnolias. 

“I believe TATC audiences will laugh and cry with these ladies and find a connection to their own lives as well.”

Cory Goodrich returns to TATC for her 13th production, having previously appeared in Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. She won a Jeff Award for her role of June Carter in Ring of Fire and another Jeff Award for her role as Mother in Drury Lane’s production of Ragtime. As a singer/songwriter Cory has four solo albums. Landree Fleming is returning to TATC where she was last seen in Godspell and The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee. Shehas worked at Drury Lane, Paramount, and Chicago Shakespeare, among other Chicagoland theaters and is a member of the comedy group Off Off Broadzway.

Heidi Kettenring returns to TATC where she was seen in Annie Warbucks, I Do! I Do! and Here’s Love! She is a Jeff Award winner in addition to having received several Jeff nominations, the Sarah Siddons Chicago Leading Lady Award, an After Dark Award and the Richard M. Kneeland Award. Joslyn Yvonne Jones has appeared in Once On This Island at Marriott Lincolnshire, Weekend at TimeLine Theatre and Escape at Live Bait Theatre and now makes her TATC debut. Jeannie Affelder has appeared in Silent Sky at First Folio and The Little Flower of East Orange at Eclipse,which earned her a Jeff Nomination for Best Actress, is also making her TATC debut as is Myesha-Tiara, who has been seen in The Wedding Band at The Artistic Home, Netflix & Kill at the Pride Arts Center and was featured in the film 12 Years a Slave.

Linda Fortunato is director of Steel Magnolias. She has been involved with more than a dozen shows at TATC including directing Big River, The Tin Woman, Cabaret, Annie Warbucks and A Christmas Story; choreographing Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof; and performing in Lend Me a Tenor and The Diary of Anne Frank. She has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director. She received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Choreography includinggarnering Theatre at the Center its first Jeff Award for her choreography of 42nd Street.

The creative team for Steel Magnolias includes Scenic Designer Greg Pinsoneault, Lighting Designer Michael Trudeau, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead, Wig Design and Hair Design Kevin Barthel, Prop Design Brittney O’Keefe and Sound Design Barry Funderburg. Stage Manager is Jessica Banaszak.

Fortunato as TATC’s Artistic Director is teamed with Richard Friedman as General Manager and Ann Davis as Head of Production.

Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year round professional theater at its home: The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking. Theater at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minute from downtown Chicago.

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