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Stage & Theater
Steel Magnolias features African-American cast
Article published on Monday, May 12, 2014
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From left, Brandy Grant, Tia Jemison, Whitney Drake, Fanni Green, Perri Gaffney and Erica Sutherlin star in American Stage Theatre Company’s production of Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias.
ST. PETERSBURG – American Stage Theatre Company presents its fifth mainstage play of this season with Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias, featuring an African-American cast. Previews are May 21 and 22. Opening Night is May 23 and the production runs through June 15.

Opening Night will include a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. on May 23 catered by Parkshore Grill with delicious delights, an open bar, and live music. The opening night performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $59.

“Pay What You Can” Night is Wednesday, May 21, at 8 p.m.

Steel Magnolias is set in the present day at Truvy’s Beauty Shop in Chinquapin, Louisiana. Shelby’s wedding day nears, so the beauty shop ladies of Chinquapin Parrish, Louisiana - delicate as magnolias but tough as steel – have a lot to talk about.

From the new assistant who announces, “I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair,” to the town matron who declares, “I'm not crazy…I've just been in a very bad mood 40 years!”… Steel Magnolias is alternately hilarious and touching, sure to be the feel-good hit of the season!

Steel Magnolias will be presented in two acts with one intermission.

Bob Devin Jones is directing for American Stage Theatre’s production of Steel Magnolias. He is a native of Los Angeles has resided in St. Petersburg since 1997. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, he has been a theatre worker for more than 35 years, working as an actor, playwright and director.

He serves on the USF College of Education Advisory Board, and the Boards of freeFall Theatre, Creative Clay, First Night, and American Stage, where he directed the most recent production in the August Wilson Century Cycle, Two Trains Running.

Sharon E. Scott is the assistant director for this production. Scott began her career in New York and has performed around the world; touring with several national and international companies, appearing in North and South America, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Singapore.

The cast includes Whitney Drake as Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, Perri Gaffney as Ouiser Boudreaux, Brandy Grant as Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, Fanni Green as M’Lynn Eatenton, Tia Jemison as Truvy Jones and Erica Sutherlin as Clairee Belcher.

The artistic staff includes Greg Bierce as scenic designer, Megan Byrne as lighting designer, Karla Hartley as sound designer, Sarah Stark as costume designer, Jerid Fox as properties master and scenic dresser, Rachel Harrison as production stage manager and Timon Brown as technical director.

Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $29 for Thursday Previews; $39 for Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees, and $49 for Friday and Saturday evenings.

Tickets are $59 on opening night and include pre-performance reception.

Student advance tickets are $20 and student rush tickets are $10, 30 minutes prior to curtain. Seniors receive $2 off and active military personnel are admitted free with valid military ID presented at the box office. Group ticket pricing packages are also available.

For tickets, call the American Stage Box Office at 727-823-PLAY (7529) or visit

American Stage Theatre Company is located at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N. in downtown St. Petersburg.
Article published on Monday, May 12, 2014
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