strong and sassy
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is closing the 2021-2022 Season with Steel Magnolias, Robert Harling’s off-Broadway hit which inspired a blockbuster movie of the same name.
In Steel Magnolias, six women from all walks of life experience the everyday joys and tears of small-town living while gathered at their favorite hair salon. When tragedy strikes, the play reveals the steely bonds of compassion and love that hold true friends together. The show brings to the stage the familiar and beloved characters, like the wise-cracking Truvy, her eager new assistant Annelle, curmudgeonly Ouiser, millionaire Miss Clairee, local social leader M’lynn and her truth-talking daughter Shelby.
“I think the familiarity of this story is one of its strengths,” said Director Laura Gordon. “The play is a perfect mix of warmth, honesty, and humor. I’m excited to share a story that embraces friendship through good times and bad that celebrates kindness and the resilience of the human spirit, all while having a good laugh. As Truvy says, ‘Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.’”
Led by Laura Gordon, the production was developed by an all-female design team. The creative team stayed true to the time period in which Steel Magnolias was originally set: the mid-1980s. Costume designer and Arkansas-raised Holly Payne used her experience growing up as a woman in the South to select authentic period costumes that are true to the era and location of the show. Complete with excellent design details, Steel Magnolias includes witty banter, memorable one-liners, and the timeless celebration of community that makes the story such a pop culture favorite.
“Now more than ever, we need a good laugh. Our season closer offers plenty of those, plus some good, healthy, cleansing tears,” adds IRT’s Resident Dramaturg Richard J Roberts. “The women who gather at Truvy’s beauty shop bond over a lot more than cuts and curls; they create a tight-knit family of many colors that gets them through everything from weddings to funerals. Steel Magnolias reminds us how friendship and community help us survive the hardest challenges that life can throw at us. For a play written in 1987, that sounds an awful lot like today, doesn’t it?”