Springs Community Theater is opening their next production, Robert Harling’s 1987 play Steel Magnolias—which was later adapted into a 1989 major motion picture starring Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis—on Friday, January 20.
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, wisecracking 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 a series of 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 marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.
A first play, Steel Magnolias met with immediate critical and popular success in its premier production by New York’s WPA Theatre. Concerned with a group of gossipy Southern ladies in a small-town beauty parlor, the play is alternately funny and touching, and, in the end, deeply revealing of the strength and purposefulness which underlies the banter of its characters.
The Springs Community Theater Company was founded in 2005 by Barbara Mattson, an assistant office manager at Douglas Elliman in East Hampton; and Jayne Freedman, a mother of five who owns Jayne E’s Family Cuts in East Hampton. Both live in Springs. Members of the company pitch into make costumes and build sets.
Steel Magnolias opens at Springs Presbyterian Church (5 Old Stone Highway) on Friday, January 20, followed by shows on Saturday January 21; Friday January 27; and Saturday January 28—all from 7–9 p.m. Click here for tickets ($20, $15 for seniors and students), or call Barbara Mattson at 516-658-5735.