Great Falls Theatre Company Presents

Steel Magnolias

Ryan Hurley

Director

Ryan is so grateful for the chance to help bring the beautiful and poignant story of Steel Magnolias back to Great Falls. This is Ryan’s 3rd endeavor with the Great Falls Theatre Company. The first playing Jud Fry in last summer’s production of Oklahoma! and second as the director of the holiday classic, Charlie Brown Christmas! He has been working in theatre for the better part of 25 years. Originally from Ohio, he majored in Theatre Studies at Wright State University. He would like to thank and acknowledge the board, cast, and production team for all of their hard work, dedication, support, and passion for the arts. Also, a special thanks to his partner/stage manager Tim, for his unconditional love, and unwavering support. Ryan would like to dedicate this show to his sister Amy, to all the women of his life, and to his father who recently passed. Thank you so much for coming to our show, and supporting the local arts. Get your tissues ready, and please, enjoy the show!

Steel Magnolias

Synopsis:

Steel Magnolias is a stage play by American writer Robert Harling, based on his experience with his sister’s death. The play is a comedy-drama about the bond among a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana.

The title suggests the “female characters are as delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel”. The magnolia specifically references a magnolia tree they are arguing about at the beginning.

Set in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin, the play opens at Truvy’s in-home beauty parlor where a group of women regularly gather. They discuss Shelby’s upcoming wedding to her fiancé, Jackson. The plot covers events over the next three years relating to Shelby’s Type 1 diabetes, and with how the women cope with their conflicts, while remaining friends: Shelby’s decision to have a child despite jeopardizing her health, Clairee’s friendship with the curmudgeon Ouiser; Annelle’s transformation from a shy, anxious newcomer in town to a good-time girl then repentant revival-tent Christian; and Truvy’s relationships with the men in her family. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother M’Lynn, and Shelby’s medical battles, the group’s underlying friendship is prominent throughout the drama.

Directors Note:

Most recognize Steel Magnolias as the iconic Hollywood chick flick from 1989. A film truly of its time, and written by the same man who wrote the stage version. I believe the play, in its own right, is just as much or even more so a timeless classic. Robert Harling wrote it shortly after his sister passed away of diabetic complications in 1985. In his grief, he essentially crafted a Greek tragedy nuanced with the modern day female experience, stylings of the late 80’s, and good old fashion southern hospitality. It is a story about community, friendship, parent-child relationships, grief, and the resilience of the human spirit. Most importantly it is a story that is grounded in truth. Just like the neighborhood ladies who regularly frequent Truvy’s salon, we as a community know each other through the peaks and valleys of life. We see each other through the bad times, and we celebrate the good. Although this story may be a poignant one, it is richly decorated with clever candor, witty banter, generosity, great humor, love, and hope. Thank you so much for showing up for local arts and joining us as we pay tribute to the ones who have the courage to stand by us during our most difficult times. To the ones who are as delicate as magnolias, and are as tough as steel, we honor you. Please, enjoy the show.

“If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.”
- Dolly P

Best regards, Ryan

Hannah Kajer

Shelby

Hannah is so excited to be a part of her first production with Great Falls Theatre Company. Hannah is from Rochester Hills, Michigan where she graduated from college with a minor in Theatre. Most recently, she appeared in Romeo and Juliet with Shakespeare Frankfurt in the role of Montague and worked as a lighting designer at the Amelia Earhart Playhouse in Wiesbaden, Germany. Some of her favorite roles include the First Witch in Macbeth, Rosemary in Outside Mullingar, and Inez in No Exit.
It has been 9 years since Deanna have been on the stage, the last production she was in was “Big, the Musical” where she played Mrs Baskin. Deanna am a mother of 5 & a grandmother of 12, who keep her busy just remembering all of the birthdays! Deanna is very excited to play such a fun character as Ouiser. Her performance is in memory of her youngest daughter, who was killed in September 2021. Deanna says “she was my drama/theatre brat, so I know she’s smiling down on me giving me the gumption I need to portray such a sassy character!”

Deanna Small

Ouiser

Tiffany Staigmiller

Truvy

Tiffany is thrilled for the opportunity to perform in Steel Magnolias! Born and raised in Great Falls, Tiffany is a mom of 2 amazing boys and 4 crazy pups! She spent all of high school doing theatre and band. The first show Tiffany was ever casted in was Steel Magnolias her sophomore year, where she had the opportunity to play Clariee. She has appeared in many shows, from Annie, A Christmas Carol, Fiddler on the Roof to Merchant of Venice. When Tiffany wasn’t on stage you could find her backstage helping with makeup and costumes! After being away from theatre for 10 years, Tiffany is excited to be working with Great Falls Theatre Company and this amazing group of women!
Laureen is thrilled to be the resident dramaturg for GFTC and to have also been cast in her second show for the company. (The first was last Summer’s Oklahoma!) She recently taught drama, glee club and dance to elementary students at one of Los Angeles’ top after school programs. She holds a Master’s Degree in Theater from Cal State Northridge and was heavily involved with Center Stage Community Theatre in Great Falls where she enjoyed every aspect of theater, from building sets and running lights to taking tickets! Acting credits include, Bye Bye Birdie, Music Man, Fantasticks, Camelot, Godspell, and many others. Dramaturgy credits include Picasso at the Lapin Agile, South Pacific, Funny Thing Happened …Forum, The Cherry Orchard and many more. She worked for many years as an archivist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Currently, Laureen sings with Sound of the Falls Women’s Chorus and enjoys teaching couple’s dancing at Miss Linda’s School of Dance with her husband, John, and running a small craft business. Laureen is proud to be back in Great Falls for good! Laureen is also our resident Dramaturg for GFTC!

Laureen Asa-Dorian Johnson

Clairee

Kyrstin Haggins

Annelle

Kyrstin is beyond excited to bring you Annelle in the Great Falls Theatre Company’s production of Steel Magnolias. An avid theatre lover since five years old, Kyrstin graduated from the University of Montana a few years ago with a dual BFA in the subject. She is a soprano in the Electric City Chorale and made her musical debut last summer as Laurey in Oklahoma! Some of her other favorite roles she has had the honor of playing include Lizzy Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, #00 in The Wolves, and Agnes in She Kills Monsters. Kyrstin runs a pet sitting business in her free time as animals are her second passion; her crazy collie Seamus keeps her on her toes and supports her in learning her lines till all hours. Kyrstin hopes you can find the heart and companionship in Steel Magnolias that pours through the words and characters.
Tyler is new to Great Falls and thrilled to be a part of the Great Falls Theatre Company family. She is a professional actress of 35 years and a professor of acting for 11 years at universities in Florida and Texas. Tyler’s television credits include recurring roles on Ellen and Charmed and the series lead on USA Network’s Silk Stalkings. Some favorite theaters include The Florida Repertory Theatre where she played Lizzy in Maytag Virgin, Nola in Split in Three in and Sarah in Time Stands Still. She spent seven seasons at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Some of her favorite roles there include Callie in Stop Kiss, Cressida in Troilus and Cressida, Brooke in Noises Off, Joan of Arc in Henry VI part one, Cherie in Bus Stop and Izzy in Rabbit Hole. In her four seasons at The Utah Shakespeare Festival her favorite roles are Celia in As You Like It, Dolly in You Never Can Tell, Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest and Mrs. Manningham in Gaslight. Other favorite theaters include The Milwaukee Rep where she played Catherine in The Foreigner, Colorado Shakespeare Festival where she played Isabella in Measure for Measure, and Freeport Shakespeare Festival where she played Olivia in Twelfth Night.

Tyler Layton

M'Lynn