The play Steel Magnolias is now on stage at the Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC). This touching comedy/drama is based on the real life experience of Robert Harling whose sister Susan died from complications of Type 1 diabetes. Hoping to cope with his loss he wrote a short story about the event which later he transformed into a play in 1987. The play was adapted into a successful film in 1989 with an all star cast. MTC has now brought this warm play to its stage in Norwalk, Ct.
Steel Magnolias is set in a small town in Louisiana in the late 1980s. The play takes place entirely in the beauty salon owned by Truvy (Raissa Katona Bennett). As in many small towns the salon is the center of life and gossip in town. It is also where a small group of good friends gather each week to talk and to support each other. Here we find this group of strong women on the eve of Shelby’s( Andrea Lynn Green ) wedding. We are introduced to Annelle (Rachel Rival) the newcomer to town with a unknown past who is hired to work in the salon. We see her morph from quiet stranger, to born again Christian. M’Lynn (Kaia Monroe) is Shelby’s mother who is preparing for the wedding, Cynthia Hannah is Clariee who is the widow of the former town mayor, and she trades good natured barbs with Ouiser (Kristi Carnahan).
As Act One leads up to the wedding, we learn about these strong characters and their relationship with each other. The dialogue is fast and funny as the women exchange sarcastic one liners with each other and keep the pace of the play moving along briskly.
These six women are the “steel magnolias”. Southern women who seemingly pretty and petty on the outside but strong enough inside to survive the challenges they face. Although a comedy for most of the play, the sadness of Shelby’s illness as a result of her diabetes and pregnancy brings these strong characters even closer despite their differences. Act Two deals more with Shelby’s illness and her decline and how these women deal with the situation. Humor still prevails in Act Two despite the sadness.
It is the powerful bonds of friendship and family that the audience takes away from this play. It is funny and entertaining, but touching and heart warming as well. Director Pamela Hill has done a wonderful job in bringing these characters to life. She has done great work with the actors in this ensemble.
Steel Magnolias runs November 8th -24th 2019. Show times are Friday evenings at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm , Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $35-65 .
As with all the productions at MTC, the acting and directing is first rate, and this is yet another performance you should not miss.
Music Theater of Connecticut
509 Westport Avenue Norwalk Ct
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