‘Steel Magnolias’ comes to Harlingen CISD Performing Arts Conservatory

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At left, Azeneth Corrales, a student at Harlingen High School, performs the role of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias, which opens this weekend at the Performing Arts Conservatory. At right, sitting, is Kayla Acosta in the role of Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie. Kayla is a student at Harlingen Collegiate High School. (Courtesy photo)

HARLINGEN — Adrianna Rodriguez finds her new role as a mother in “Steel Magnolias” challenging for obvious reasons.

“I’m trying to understand how much depth there is in a mother’s love,” said Adrianna, 16, a junior at Harlingen High School South.

Steel Magnolias is the Conservatory’s first show of the season, which starts Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.

Adrianna and her fellow cast members have spent many weeks preparing for their performances in a work made popular in the 1989 film production with its all-star cast, which included Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts.

This week, the young thespians at the Conservatory will take on the same roles in a production about love, loss and the power of community.

“This has been a challenging show for our actresses,” said Chris Esparza, director. “It’s been challenging but fun. The message is that while we all go through struggles in our lives, it’s the people and relationships around us that keep us pushing that are so important because life goes on.”

The play by Robert Harlingen is set in Truvy’s Beauty Salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, in the 1980s.

“It’s the place to go for the best do’s, the best advice (whether you asked for it or not), and the best friends you’ll ever meet,” says the playbill. “You’ll join Truvy, the irascible Ouiser, protective M’Lynn and her soon-to-be-wed daughter Shelby, and a host of other memorable women as they banter, bicker and bond through the years.”

Sadie Jensen plays the role of Annelle Depuy-Desoto.

“I think she’s definitely a versatile character,” said Sadie, 17, a senior at Harlingen High School South.

“She goes through a big character arc throughout the show,” Sadie continued. “At first she appears very awkward and shy. That’s something I think I really resonated with at the beginning of high school. Later she blossoms into this confident and talkative character.”

Adrianna in the role of M’Lynn Eatenton — which was played by Sally Field in the movie — is the mother of Shelby played by Kayla Acosta.

Adrianna showed a fondness for her character.

“She is just a very pragmatic and very protective woman in the show,” she said. “She reminds me a lot of my mother and so being able to sort of play her in that perspective has made it a fun and eye-opening experience.”

This first show of the year will be presented “in the round”, meaning the audience will be on stage to the side of the performance and this making them feel like they’re part of the experience.

For performance days and times, visit https://www.hcisdpa.org.