The Nicolet Players Spring 2023 production is Steel Magnolias by Robert Harding

Steel Magnolias By Robert Harding

Auditions are March 26 from 1 - 4 pm and March 27 from 6 - 9 pm
Nicolet College Theatre
Lakeside Center - Rhinelander campus

Performances run May 19 - 28, 2023

Production Information: 

Steel Magnolias, by Robert Harling is a heartfelt, ensemble comedy with dramatic moments. Director K. Woodzick is looking for a cast of six emotionally intelligent actors who are ready to work hard, have fun and commit deeply to the process of rehearsing and performing this piece. Experience in acting is not necessary--having an open mind and being a compassionate communicator and team player will be essential. 

A limited number of physical copies of the script will be available for checkout at the Nicolet Library in the Lakeside Building starting on January 9th. If all copies are checked out, please email the director and they will make alternate arrangements for you to access the script. 

Time Commitment: 

Performances run May 19 - 28, 2023. Rehearsals will start on April 3rd and will be held 3-4 nights a week until tech week. A full rehearsal and performance schedule will be available for review at auditions. If you have questions about scheduling that need to be answered before auditions, please email the director at

Audition Expectations: 

Auditions are March 26 from 1 - 4 pm and March 27 from 6 - 9 pm at the Nicolet College Theatre in the Lakeside Center on Nicolet's Rhinelander campus. Actors are encouraged to sign up in advance so the production team has a sense of numbers for both sessions:

The auditions will consist of cold reads from the script. This means that you will receive the pages (or sides) at the audition itself. It is highly encouraged that you read the character descriptions below and have a familiarity with the script. The director is looking for actors who make bold choices, connect with their fellow actors and listen closely and incorporate the direction they are given. After you read through a scene once, you will likely be given a direction on how to approach your performance from a different angle and will read through part or all of the scene again. You will be able to indicate on your audition form which characters you are most interested in and also if there are any characters for which you do not want to be considered.

Please note: this play is set in northern Louisiana. You are not at all required to prepare an accent for auditions, but the director may ask you to try a line or two. This YouTube video is a wonderful resource:

Character Descriptions (research pulled from the Sacramento Theatre Company Dramaturgy packet): 

TRUVY JONES – 40ish. She is the owner of the beauty shop in fictional Chinquapin Parish, Louisiana, where Steel Magnolias is set. Truvy loves her work as a hairstylist and is, in fact, obsessed with everything having to do with hair (e.g., “Baltimore is the hair capital of the world!”). She is married to a “slug” who spends most of his time parked in front of the TV and is the mother of twin 18-year-old sons (“Poot” and Louie) who will soon be moving out and leaving her “nest.” The most glamorous of the bunch, she’s a frustrated romantic and apprehensive about soon being alone with only her husband. A church-going woman (a Methodist), Truvy is a gossip – but never a mean or vindictive one. She soon becomes a surrogate mother of sorts for Annelle, her “semidaughter.” Truvy is a bit naïve about the world at large, but, like all the “magnolias” in the play, she is kind, caring, and resilient. This actor will have to be believable styling hair and manicuring nails onstage (training will be given).

ANNELLE DUPUY-DeSOTO – 19 (one of the other characters describes her by saying: “she can’t be more than 18”). A young hairstylist, when the play begins she is applying to Truvy’s beauty salon for a job. Recently married to a shady character named Bunky Dupuy, her fugitive husband has taken off with her car, money, and even most of her clothes, leaving her in an understandably fragile state. She is justifiably nervous and concerned about her finances and her future. From Zwolle, Louisiana, she is naïve about the ways of the world. She has quite an emotional arc over the course of the play: moving from a shy, insecure, anxious girl to a young woman who gradually finds confidence and maturity with a new job and enthusiastic interest in the local Baptist church. She becomes a surrogate daughter of sorts to motherly Truvy and, over the course of the play, meets a young man named Sammy DeSoto, marries him, and becomes pregnant with her first child. Very good at heart, at times she gets over-zealous with her religious beliefs. A lovable, sweet girl, Annelle is shy, private, and creative. This actor will have to be believable shampooing and styling hair onstage (training will be given).

CLAIREE BELCHER – age late 60s to early 70s. The former “First Lady of Chinquapin,” she is a “grande dame” who has only recently lost her husband (Lloyd) of almost 50 years, the former Mayor of the town. She is still adjusting to being a new widow. Clairee is from a wealthy and distinguished family (the Marmillions) and is confident in her social position in the town. She has a sweet tooth and is attractive and stylish. She has a son and daughter-in-law who live in Tickfaw, Louisiana; is next-door neighbor to the Eatentons; best friend forever to Ouiser Boudreuax; and an enthusiastic gossip. She develops three interests that shape her life over the course of the play: the local high school football team; the local radio station KPPD, which she eventually buys; and viewing theatre. She is described as having “a smart mouth” and also has a self-deprecating type of humor as she frequently makes fun of herself. She has “plenty of money.” In one scene, Clairee has a hoarse voice from yelling herself silly at a football game. 

SHELBY EATENTON-LATCHERIE – mid to late 20s. Shelby is the “prettiest girl in town.” She is charming, ebullient, and appealing. The daughter of M’Lynn and Drum Eatenton, sister to Tommy and Jonathan, and soon to be wed to Jackson Latcherie, Shelby is free-spirited and tends to speak her mind, which often brings her into conflict with her mother. She takes her life in her hands when she decides to get pregnant despite doctors’ warnings of the complications that can occur as she lives with diabetes. She works as a pediatric nurse in a hospital with newborn babies, including premature ones, a career path which increases her resolve to give birth to her own child. After giving birth to her child (an event that happens between Acts I and II), Shelby is elated to have a baby but, as a result, suffers more severe medical problems as well as the onset of marital problems with her challenging husband. The actor playing this role portrays a diabetic reaction onstage--we will have a consultant in Disability Studies whose thesis centered on depictions of people living with diabetes in theatre and media join us in conversation via Zoom to discuss an authentic and respectful representation of this scene. 

M’LYNN (Mary Lynn) EATENTON – age early 50s, though somewhat flexible based on being believable as Shelby's mother. She has the look and constitution of someone a decade younger. Socially prominent in the town, married to Drum Eatenton, a successful and affluent man, M’Lynn is herself a career woman who works as a counselor at the local Mental Guidance Center. She is mother to Shelby and two sons, Tommy and Jonathan. She worries a great deal about her headstrong daughter and the two clash frequently over some of Shelby’s life choices, specifically Shelby’s choice to have a baby. M’Lynn challenges her daughter only because of a genuine and deeply-felt concern and worry for her child. M’Lynn also has some marital problems with her husband which eventually get better when they together find peace later in the play’s action. In Act II, we learn that M’Lynn and Drum have just marked their 30th wedding anniversary. M’Lynn is smart, articulate, concerned, and kind. The actor playing M’Lynn has a difficult acting challenge to pull off in Act II, Scene 2, the day of Shelby’s funeral, in a scene which requires a display of legitimate and heartfelt emotions as she suffers a wrenching breakdown over the loss of her child. 

OUISER (pronounced “Weezer”) BOUDREAUX – age late 60s to early 70s. A wealthy curmudgeon, she is acerbic but ultimately lovable. Possessed of a sharp tongue, she can be sardonic, severe, sarcastic, scathing, severe, snarky, and stinging – BUT the barbs must never totally mask that a good, kind, and caring woman exists beneath the veneer of a brittle older woman. She is dear friends with the ladies in the neighborhood, though she and M’Lynn’s husband Drum are opposing parties in a longtime feud. Ouiser is a single lady, having been previously married to “two total deadbeats”; she is also the mother of “three ungrateful children.” In her own words, she has “more money than God.” She and Clairee are friends of many decades and, likely because of this, they tease, taunt, and torment each other relentlessly. Her closest companion is her mangy and disreputable old dog, Rhett, for years on his “last legs.” As Ouiser herself says, “I’m not crazy – I’ve just been in a bad mood for forty years.” This actor needs to have a strong sense of comic timing and embrace the character’s outward bile and nastiness.

In the words of the playwright: "The women in this play are witty, intelligent, and above all, real characters. They in no way, shape or form are meant to be portrayed as cartoons or caricatures.