'Steel Magnolias' will feature an all-female cast this weekend and next at George Fox's Wood-Mar Auditorium

Wanting to take C.S. Lewis Academy's spring play in a new direction, director Amberly Orr began mulling over the possibility of doing an all-female cast. SETH GORDON - From left: Anna Virginia Millage, Amy Fouch and Hannah Galambos rehearse for C.S. Lewis Academy's upcoming production of "Steel Magnolias" Friday and Saturday at George Fox University's Wood-Mar Auditorium.

Having worked the board for a run of performances at George Fox University five years ago, Orr is a big fan of "Steel Magnolias" and when it came to mind, her choice was made.

"I remember I laughed and cried every night and I saw that show like a dozen times," Orr said. "Clearly it's a show that has impacted me."

The six-member cast was particularly excited to share the spotlight a bit more equally this time around.

"I feel with the plays in the past, the boys have been the main stars," junior Anna Virginia Millage said. "So it's really nice to have an all-female cast with so many great roles."

Orr also went with the Robert Harling script as a way to celebrate female relationships.

"I think it's something that doesn't get covered enough and this play does a really good job of accurately portraying how women interact with one another," Orr said. "I find this play to be really heartwarming and really funny. The dialogue is really crisp and good, but it's also really heart wrenching."

It seems the cast has come to the same conclusion, as well.

"I really like the script, though, because it's very sarcastic and also super real," said Elianna Swan, who opted to be homeschooled for her senior year. "So it's a lot different than playing a stereotypical, over-the-top dramatic character."

Orr also felt the play was well suited to the smaller, three-sided stage space within George Fox's Wood-Mar Auditorium, where the play will open with 7 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday. Two more 7 p.m. performances are lined up for May 19-20, with a 2 p.m. matinee ending the run May 21.

"I thought it was really important for this show that it was intimate," Orr said. "When we did it at Fox, it was such a hit that it kind of needed to be done proscenium."

General admission is $7 or $5 for students.

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