‘Steel Magnolias’ blooming on Carmel stage

From left, Lori Raffel (Ouiser), Joellyn Young (Clairee), Vickie Cornelius Phipps (M’Lynne), Sara McGee (Shelby), Casey Votaw (Annelle), Laura Baltz (Truvy). (Submitted photo)

From left, Lori Raffel (Ouiser), Joellyn Young (Clairee), Vickie Cornelius Phipps (M’Lynne), Sara McGee (Shelby), Casey Votaw (Annelle), Laura Baltz (Truvy). (Submitted photo)

Carmel Community Players has been around since 1993 working to provide quality live dramatic and musical entertainment presentations that expand and develop creative, cultural and educational opportunities for the entire community. So far this season Carmel Community Players has put on “Breaking Up is Hard to do” and “Joseph and Mary.”

For the last fifteen months, the players have been working with director Jason Gloye on “Steel Magnolias.” Gloye worked with Carmel Community players when he was a teenager, so when artistic director, Lori Raffel, asked him if he would be interested in directing “Steel Magnolias” he was more than thrilled.

The Basics

  • What: Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias”
  • When: Now through March 10, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
  • Where: Carmel Community Playhouse at Clay Terrace, 14299 Clay Terrace Blvd., Suite 140
  • Cost: Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors
  • More info: e-mail info@carmelplayers.org or call 815-9387

Making his first debut as a director, Gloye is more than thrilled to share his masterpiece with the community.



“Steel Magnolias” is a play about six courageous, bold, vulnerable, beautiful women who all experience life in their own unique ways. The play takes place in the 80s at a local beauty shop where women go to share because they can, support because they love, laugh at the good and help one another through the bad. “Each woman in this play has her own personal, epic highs and her own crushing, raw lows,” Gloye said.

It’s always a challenge to approach a play that has become a piece of culture via film,” Gloye said. “Steel Magnolias is a lot like the movie only without the men.

And Gloye said he believed audiences would recognize the women in the play from their own personal lives, adding that these women exist off stage, they exist in our own lives. The woman in “Steel Magnolias” help audiences realize everyone is going through something in their own personal way.

“I think it would be good for the new generation of girls to come see the show” Raffel said. Raffel will also be taking on the role of Ouiser.

“Choosing the cast for “Steel Magnolias” was one of the most rewarding parts of directing the play,” Gloye said.  Many of the women in the cast have portrayed one of the other characters in the play at some time or another. The cast includes: Vickie Cornelis Phipps (M’Lynne), Sarah McGee (Shelby), Lori Raffel (Ouiser), Casey Votaw (Annelle), veteran Laura Baltzwill be taking on the role of (Truvy) and Joellyn Young will be taking on her first role at Carmel Community Players as (Clairee).

“In the past few months, whenever I’ve mentioned “Steel Magnolias” to friends, family, or colleagues, I’m flooded with each person’s favorite outrageous line from the play… There’s no denying the hysterical writing in this piece” Gloye said.

Enjoy the laughter, revel in 80’s nostalgia, but don’t forget to take in the simple moments and the dynamic arc that each of these women experiences. Most importantly, don’t forget to acknowledge the real-life steel magnolias you come in contact with every day.