“Steel Magnolias” By Robert Harling

Steel Magnolias

By: Robert Harling

Performed by: Frances Fisher, Shannon Holt, Amy Pietz, Brittany Snow, Jocelyn Towne, Josh Clark, Jeanie Hackett

Length: 1 hr and 51 mins

Published January 13th 2016 by L.A. Theatre Works

(first published January 1st 1988)

I normally don’t re-read a book or play. Every so often I may re-visit a classic just to see how it (or I) has aged. Some of the time I pick up something new or intriguing that I missed before, especially if it is one of those classics we HAD to read in school, I missed a lot in those because most of the time I faked it or skimmed over it.

I’m not sure if I would call this play a classic yet, but maybe it is, but I saw the movie (different ending than the play, fyi) and read the play back in college. I saw this on my list of plays I had made for myself to look over and kept passing over it, because, well, I thought I had got what I was going to get out of it already. I found out that was not the case. In the past I had really just taken it in as an ensemble cast and just thought this was a bunch of women in the south and how their lives were interlinked. It is that but really there is more.

Having a son that has Type 1 diabetes, this time around I really focused in on the character of Shelby. I also have worked in a number of years now since first reading this play and the focus of the radio Shelby brings into the salon grabbed my attention. I soon put together how the two were related.

The author of this play actually wrote the play after the death of his sister due to complications of diabetes while she gave birth. I found that early in the play when Shelby brings in the radio she is relatively healthy and fine, the radio works fine. Later as she decides to have a baby even though there are risks for a diabetic the radio kinda fades in and out. Finally the radio goes out. (stopping here due to spoilers). So with that all in mind this play came from a different angle to hit me emotionally that I wasn’t expecting.

In summary; go ahead and re-read those stories, you never know how it will affect you the second or third time around.

By the way, this was yet another great performance/production from L.A. Theatre Works. They really do put you right into the audience.

Publisher’s Summary

Within the walls of Truvy’s beauty shop are six women whose lives increasingly hinge on the existence of one another. Together, they absorb the passing seasons, just like the weathered wooden structure of the salon “home” that they share.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production, starring Frances Fisher, Jeanie Hackett, Shannon Holt, Amy Pietz, Brittany Snow, and Jocelyn Towne. Additional voices by Josh Clark. Directed by Jessica Kubzansky and recorded before an audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

©1987 Robert Harling (P)2015 L.A. Theatre Works