Women and their friends encounter tragedy and good fortune in 'Steel Magnolias'

Charlotte Players much-anticipated “Steel Magnolias” arrives for a 13-day run March 8-March 24 at the Langdon Playhouse, 1182 Market Circle, Port Charlotte.

Many will remember the 1989 film adaptation of Robert Harling’s 1987 play. Director Herbert Ross coaxed star turns from Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and the unforgettable Julia Roberts, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress.

Director Gary Seddon has assembled a strong cast of local talent for the Charlotte Players production of the comedy-drama set in Truvy’s beauty parlor in Chinquapin, La. The principals include wise-cracking salon owner Truvy Jones (Kyle Marie), her eager new assistant Annelle Dupuy-DeSoto (Crystal Coluzzi), rich curmudgeon Ouiser Boudreaux (Marilyn Barton), eccentric millionaire Clairee Belcher (Charlene Kircher), social leader M’Lynn Eatenton (Sandra Wood) and her daughter Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie (Melissa Fourman).

Filled with hilarious repartee, the play is truly touching, as the women and their friends encounter tragedy and good fortune, growing stronger and closer in the process.

“This is a play about love and friendship,” said Seddon. “The six female characters are like the metaphor of the title. Playwright Robert Harling describes them as flowers that are ‘so delicate … but actually made of much stronger stuff.’

“In the spirit of true friendship, they speak the truth with honesty that is sorely missing in our country today,” the director added. “The universal themes in ‘Steel Magnolias’ account for its longevity and relevance today.”

Harling wrote “Steel Magnolias” after the death of his sister at age 33 caused him to be concerned that his 2-year-old nephew would never know his mother. Originally, Harling considered it a tragedy and not a comedy, but in performance, the play stimulated lots of audience laughter. Based on the witty and clever women of his community, Harling realized that the play was “funny — until it’s not.”

“Steel Magnolias” runs through March 24, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Matinees and evening performances take place on both Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24. All dates and how times are available at www.charlotteplayers.org. Tickets are $20 and may be ordered online or by calling 941-255-1022 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Langdon Playhouse is located at 1182 Market Circle, Port Charlotte.

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