Madisson Heinl has directed her first full play and audiences – especially, but not limited to, women – will enjoy her take on “Steel Magnolias.”

The Center Street Community Theatre production is being presented on the Wagon Wheel Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are only $15, and part of the proceeds will go to diabetes research.

Most people will remember the 1989 film version that starred iconic actresses Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley McClaine and Darryl Hannah. A lot of the lines from the film are found in the play, but the six actresses under Heinl’s guidance offer up their own take on their roles and they do just fine.

All four scenes in the two-act play, set in the 1980s, take place in Truvy Jones’ beauty salon. Playing Jones is Nicole Miller, her big ’80s hair matching the role’s big personality. Miller lets Jones come across as a big-hearted sage who also is the center of the group of women in the Louisiana town.

Jones recently hired Annelle to help her in her shop. Annelle, played by Katie Smallegan, initially tries to keep her fractured life to herself, but the women keep prying until Annelle drops her bombshells. During the course of the play, Annelle finds religion, finds a new husband, has more problems, but ends up at peace in her place in the world. Smallegan doesn’t over-exaggerate Annelle, instead keeping the character  reasonable and believable even when she drives the other women a little crazy with her religious fervor.

One of the women driven most mad by Annelle is Ouiser Boudreaux, played loudly by Katie Anders. In her complete makeup and wardrobe, Boudreaux looks like a woman who hasn’t seen herself in the mirror in years, though she hangs out at a beauty salon. Her hair appears unmanageable, and she must have dressed herself in the dark. Yet Anders’ sly comedic performance in the role makes the look appropriate.

A thorn in Boudreaux’s side, but also probably her best friend, is Clairee Belcher, taken on by Cindy Nash. Nash has appeared in numerous Center Street Community Theatre productions so audiences are likely to be familiar with her. Nash gets to be a little feisty with her role, especially toward the end of the fourth scene where she tries to lighten up the mood by suggesting M’lynn punch Boudreaux to get her frustrations out.

M’lynn, played by Tammie Robinson, is the mother of Shelby, played by Robinson’s niece Kayley Herbruck. Shelby has diabetes – thus the CSCT’s donation toward diabetes research – and she also has a close, though sometimes argumentative, relationship with her mom.

The way Robinson and Herbruck play their roles, they could easily be mistaken for real-life mother and daughter instead of aunt and niece. Their performances are the strongest in the show, especially when they’re disagreeing with each other.

Then there’s M’lynn’s breakdown in the last scene which should have audiences reaching for their tissues. Robinson plays the moment well and everyone else on stage falls into the background.

Overall, Heinl has done a great job with her first full show, and has assembled a powerful cast to bring her vision to the stage.

For tickets, visit or the Wagon Wheel box office.