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Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Robert Harling
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 82
Pub. Date: 1988
ISBN-10: 0822210789
ISBN-13: 9780822210788
Cast Size: 6 female

About the Play:

Steel Magnolias is a full-length comedic drama by Robert Harling. A group of Louisiana women bond and gossip at a local beauty shop while following the marriage and motherhood of one of the customer's daughters. Steel Magnolias keeps the caustic one-liners coming, but there's more to the play than humour. As the title implies, these ladies can be as delicate as magnolias – and as tough as steel. When tragedy strikes, they draw on their underlying strength and love.

Steel Magnolias is concerned with a group of gossipy southern ladies in a small-town beauty parlour. The play is alternately hilarious and touching – and, in the end, deeply revealing of the strength and purposefulness which underlies the antic banter of its characters. The action is set in Truvy's beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are "anybody" come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town's rich curmudgeon, Ouiser, ("I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood for forty years"); an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M'Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a "good ole boy." Filled with hilarious repartee and not a few acerbic but humorously revealing verbal collisions, the play moves toward tragedy when, in the second act, the spunky Shelby (who is a diabetic) risks pregnancy and forfeits her life. The sudden realization of their mortality affects the others, but also draws on the underlying strength – and love – which give the play, and its characters, the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvellously amiable company in good times and bad.

Steel Magnolias premiered in 1987 Off-Broadway by New York's WPA Theatre. His first play, it met with immediate critical and popular acceptance and made its 2005 Broadway debut after a successful 1989 film version. Steel Magnolias has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and continues to thrive in regional, school, and community theatres throughout the world.

Cast: 6 female

What people say:

"Harling has given his women sharp, funny dialogue…The play builds to a conclusion that is deeply moving." — New York Daily News

"…a skillfully crafted, lovingly evoked picture of eccentricity in the small-town South… Robert Harling is a new voice in the theatre and the qualities of Steel Magnolias suggest he may be an important one." — Drama-Logue

"…suffused with humor and tinged with tragedy." — The New York Post

About the Playwright:

Robert Harling is an American writer and film director. He earned a law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans before moving to New York, where he sold Broadway tickets and worked at a fast-food outlet while looking for acting jobs and shooting television commercials. He is best known for his iconic play Steel Magnolias, which was based on events from his personal life. Immediately bridging a career from stage to screen, he adapted his original play into the popular film of the same title. Since then he has become a much sought after screenwriter and has written Soapdish and The First Wives Club, among other hits.