Director Tripp Phillips has cast in the upcoming production of Robert Harling’s play “Steel Magnolias. Auditions were held at the SAAC in El Dorado last week and the director was delighted with both the quality and quantity of the talented women who auditioned.

For the cast of six, Abby Cate was selected as Truvy Jones, owner of the beauty salon in the fictional Chinquapin Parish, Louisiana.

Kaila Emery plays Annelle Depuy-Desoto, an anxious young girl with a past who joins Truvy as the new stylist in her salon.

Elva Melillo plays Clairee Belcher, the widow of the city’s former mayor and a community grande dame who loves soccer.

Haley Phillips is M’Lynn Eatenton, a counselor at the local mental hospital and the mother of Shelby Eatenton, played by Lainey Walthall. Shelby is an outgoing and outgoing young woman who is about to get married when the play begins.

Debbie Strickland plays Ouiser Boudreaux, an elderly Curmudgeon with a sour tongue and a heart of gold.

“We had almost 30 women who came to the auditions, and I could have cast the piece successfully several times,” said Phillips. “Compliments to El Dorado and the Union County area that there are so many talented people – and that they are excited to share their talents and time with the wonderful South Arkansas Arts Center.”

Abby Cate, a consultant at SAMA, is a seasoned local actress who played the same role as Truvy in a previous SAAC production of Steel Magnolias, along with many other roles. Other roles include Sister Mary Amnesia in “Nunsense”, Meg in “Crimes of the Heart”, Vera Charles in “Mame”, Matron Mama Morton in “Chicago”, Rapunzel in “Into the Woods” and Madame Thénardier in “Les Miserables” . ”

Kaila Emery from El Dorado has made a long series of appearances in various locations and has a professional degree in theater. She was last seen as Sabine in SAAC’s “The Three Musketeers,” and roles in other theaters include Lucy in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Mimi in “Rent,” Julia in “The Wedding Singer,” Helena in ” The Secret of Edwin Drood “and Princess Winifred in” Once Upon a Mattress “.

Elva Melillo, an employee of Ken’s Discount in El Dorado, makes her debut on the SAAC stage but has appeared in many productions in other theaters. She has played in dramatic roles in plays as diverse as “No Exit”, “Oedipus Rex”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

Junction City’s Haley Phillips is no stranger to the SAAC audience. Musical credits are Velma Kelly in “Chicago”, Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Nancy in “Oliver!”

Debbie Strickland lives in Camden and makes her SAAC debut in Steel Magnolias. She has worked in the theater since college and previously starred in children’s theater productions of “Peter Pan”, “Rumpelstilskin” and “A Christmas Carol”.

For seven years she directed an annual production of Eight Days That Changed the World in Lewisville, TX.

Lainey Walthall, a native of Magnolia, works for Murphy-Pitard Jewelers and has a BFA in musical theater from the SAU. Lainey has a long list of credentials at both SAU and SAAC, including Holly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Esmeralda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” Liesl in “The Sound of Music.” “. Constance in “The Three Musketeers”, Amber Von Tussle in “Hairspray” and Sookie in “110 in the Shade”.

Steel Magnolias is sponsored by Murphy USA. It will be presented at the South Arkansas Arts Center July 17-20 and July 24-27.

Tickets will be available from June 1st by calling 870-862-5474. CLICK HERE to order tickets online from June 1st.