‘Steel Magnolias’ hitting stage

FAIRMONT – The cast of “Steel Magnolias” epitomizes the saying: “The show must go on.”

The only time the six cast members rehearsed together were the final two practices and the matinee Wednesday, said Roxy Janke, artistic director.

“Every one of them was sick, but they were troopers,” she said.

Between strep throat and the flu, at least one cast member has been absent since rehearsals began a month ago.

Performances of “Steel Magnolias” will be 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday at the high school’s Performing Arts Center. There is an admission charge.

This production was one Janke “always wanted to do,” but she knew casting would be difficult. This year, she felt the students were capable of presenting their stage interpretation of the hit movie.

“I knew we had some actors that could do the show well. We had the talent pool,” Janke said.

Only six students appear in the play: Missy Viesselman, Julia Okerman, Talitha Burtis, Katiana Fischer, Courtney Guetter and Mary Kennedy.

“The story they tell is the story we live every day,” Janke said.

Although the play takes place in Louisiana, the personalities and events portrayed could be anywhere.

“They’re just awesome hard workers,” Janke said of the cast.

She also offered thanks to a select group of people.

“I think every hairdresser in town helped us,” she said.

The play takes place in a salon so styling chairs, capes and other equipment were needed.

“They were all so kind to us,” Janke said.

She instructed the young women on how to use curlers, hair-styling devices foreign to anyone under the age of 40.

She also expressed gratitude to Ryan Howell for building the set, which was designed by Cliff Janke; Keisha Glienke who mans the lighting and sound system; and Dr. Scott Burtis, who serves as deejay during the play.