Special guest director journeys to Huntington University to direct ‘Steel Magnolias’


Michael Haws, guest director for "Steel Magnolias"HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Huntington University Theatre Company transformed the Studio Theatre into a beauty salon for its upcoming performances of “Steel Magnolias.”

Step inside Truvy’s beauty shop and sit a spell with the ladies of Chinquapin, La. This wildly popular play follows the ups and downs of six women whose relationships endure both the good and the bad: Truvy (Samantha Freeman), a woman who speaks her mind and cracks jokes and offers free advice and shampoo to her customers; Annelle (Mary Russell), Truvy’s new assistant who has no idea whether or not she is still married; Ouiser (Kate Smith), the town’s rich “wet blanket;” Miss Clairee (Lucy Luedeke), a peculiar millionaire with an insatiable sweet tooth; and the town social leader, M’Lynn (Bethany Edlund), whose daughter, Shelby (Meagan Heffner) is preparing for her big wedding day. With its timeless humor, memorable characters and compelling drama, this great American play reminds us all of the value of true friendship.

“Steel Magnolias,” written by Robert Harling, marks the third production of the Huntington University Theatre Company’s 2010-2011 mainstage season. Special guest director Michael Haws will direct this heart-warming, southern piece.

“Robert Harling's play ‘Steel Magnolias’ is the result of the devastating loss of his sister as he struggled to cope with her death,” Haws said. “This cathartic writing was given to us as a beautiful story of six Southern women who have formed a solid support system with each other. No matter what the outside circumstances, they feel safe to unburden themselves, laugh, cry or scream in the confines of Truvy’s Beauty Salon. They have found the true meaning of friendship and show genuine care for one another.”

Haws holds a degree from Lincoln Christian College in Lincoln, Ill. In his 27 years of working in show business, Haws found many opportunities to express himself. Initially, he toured the United States with “Sunday,” a contemporary Christian vocal ensemble and also performed on numerous cruise ships, entertaining all over the world. Over the years, he has worked both as an actor and director. He spent most of his career working in Chicago, Wisconsin, Ohio, central Illinois and Indiana, most recently, directing “Don’t Dress for Dinner” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. He has also worked on the east coast, Florida and Arizona. For five years, Haws served as the associate artistic director at The Little Theatre on the Square where he was in charge of the theater for young audiences and managing the summer season.

“Steel Magnolias” will be performed four times in the Studio Theatre located in the lower level of the Merillat Centre for the Performing Arts at Huntington University Feb. 17-19. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 19. Due to the popularity of the show and limited seating, purchasing tickets early is highly recommended.

Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, $6 for children 13 and younger, $5 for HU students and $9 for HU faculty/staff.

For reservations, call the Merillat Centre for the Arts Box Office at (260) 359-4261 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Tickets also will be sold at the door before every performance. Tickets are now on sale.

You will not want to miss this hilarious seriocomedy filled with witty banter and plenty of verbal collisions.

For more information, visit www.huntington.edu/theatre.

The cast includes:

  • Mary Russell, a senior theatre performance major from Columbia, Mo.
  • Samantha Freeman, a senior theatre performance major from Portland, Ind.
  • Kate Smith, a junior theatre performance major with a music and Bible and religion double minor from Centerville, Ohio.
  • Bethany Edlund, a senior theatre performance major from Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Lucy Luedeke, a junior public relations major from Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Meagan Heffner, a junior theatre performance major from Reading, Pa.
Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and Forbes.com has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Additionally, Princeton Review has named the institution to its “Best in the Midwest” list. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  # # #For text of this and all Huntington University news releases, visit www.huntington.edu/news. 


Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
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