Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 13, 2013

Dinner theater cast hosts special Mother’s Day matinee

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Sunday was a special day for mothers, and The Ramsey dinner theater matinee of “Steel Magnolias” proved to be just the thing to cap off a beautiful day for mothers, families and friends.

“I had the name Shirley before Shirley Temple had it,” Shirley Coleman said as her son, Steve escorted her into the dinner theater. “She was born in April of 1928, but I was born in January of the same years,” she added playfully.

Every seat in the house was filled for the final performance of a highly successful run of the 4PALS production of Robert Harling’s 1987 play, “Steel Magnolias.” Of the six actors in the all-female cast, four are mothers themselves and many mothers attended the play on Sunday.

Julie Hurley, who played the role of M’Lynn in “Steel Magnolias,” also catered the special Mother’s Day luncheon through The Perfect Bite, a catering service that Hurley owns along with two partners.

“We’re busy,” Hurley said with a smile as she and a host of volunteers from Gary Bowling’s House of Art served the meal. Hurley, Sara Helmadollar, Becky Dale, Karen Harvey, Kelly Knowles and Tina Perdue have all been receiving rave reviews throughout the run of the play.

“I think you’ll find the luncheon to your liking,” Gary Bowling said as he rounded a table to serve salads and entrees. The often-playful Bowling was strictly about service as he graciously served the patrons.

“We have used volunteer groups to serve each of the dinners during the run of this play,” Skip Crane, director of the play said. “Gary Bowling’s House of Art has the play today, but we have also had W.I.S.E., (Women In Search of Empowerment), the American Cancer Society, the Montcalm High School Drama Club and the Wade Center.

“I want you to write that Skip Crane is the king of directors in 4Pals Productions, Skip Crane said humorously,” Crane said prior to the start of the play. “This play has been our most successful.”

“I don’t know if that’s the case,” Thomas Lester said as he laughed at Crane’s comments.

“I think I have the best seat in the house,” Mary D. Hurley said. “This is a great place for a play.” Mary D. Hurley is Julie’s mother-in-law. The play was a huge hit before the actors walked on stage.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com