“I am an old Southern woman. We’re supposed to put on funny looking hats and ugly old dresses and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me why. I don’t make the rules.”
It’s this sort of gentle humor that fills Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias, the 1987 off-Broadway sensation that inspired two smash films and will kick off Cumberland County Playhouse’s 2013 season. Set in a beauty parlor in Chinquapin, LA, Steel Magnolias illustrates how the lives of six distinctly different women interweave via the small town gossip that accompanies the unending cycle of birth, marriage and death. Alternately hilarious (“I’m not crazy, I’ve just been in a bad mood for 40 years!”) and deeply touching, the play focuses on the underlying strength and love of six remarkable Southern women, each of whom is as delicate as a magnolia… and as strong as steel.
The Playhouse’s 2013 production of Steel Magnolias will be directed by Donald Fann (Duck Hunter, Lilla Barton, Dearly Departed) and will star CCP leading women Weslie Webster, Carol Irvin, Patty Payne, Lindy Pendzick, Lauren Marshall and Anna Baker. This PG-rated production — which is sponsored by Dr. Stanley Bise, M.D. — will open Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Adventure Theater and run through March 29.
Playwright Robert Harling is an American writer and film director best known for Steel Magnolias. He was an aspiring actor when the death of his younger sister inspired him to write the play that remains his most famous work. He also wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film version of the play that starred Sally Field and Julia Roberts. In 2012, the play was once again adapted for the screen, this time as a Lifetime TV movie starring Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashād and Alfre Woodard.
Coming to the Playhouse in early 2013 are Footloose (Feb. 1–24, rated PG; sponsored by Plateau Properties and TAP Publishing Company), Les Misérables (March 8–May 3, rated PG; sponsored by Tennessee Plateau Oncology:Dr. Dirk Davidson; Dr. Vianney E. Villaruz) and The Miracle Worker (April 5–May 17, rated G; sponsored by Crossville Inc.; Lauren and Mason Fox). Tickets and information are also available for Southern Stars Symphonic Brass Band and other events.
All CCP productions are made possible through sponsor support, with additional support provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.