Based on the famous movie, CATCO’s current production of the play adaptation of Steel Magnolias brings to life the beloved characters and quirky town in an intimate setting. Even for those members of the audience who may have never experienced the movie themselves, it’s a show not to be missed.
Steel Magnolias is a snapshot into the lives of six friends who have found a social foundation in the town’s local beauty salon, owned by Truvy Jones. The play moves through the years as the women’s lives change – love, marriage, religion, life, and death all come to affect the characters and it is easy for the audience to fall in love with them as the story unfolds.
Portraying these six dynamic women cannot be a simple feat, but the cast does so with ease. Gail Griffith (Truvy Jones), Kelly Strand (Annelle Dupuy-Desoto), Josie Merkle (Clairee Belcher), Andrea Schmitt (Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie), Sarah Behrens (M’Lynn Eatenton), and Jackie Bates (Ouiser Boudreaux) all bring life into their respective characters and have an amazing chemistry on stage. It’s easy to believe that these women have known each other for years and have seen each other through many ups and downs. Their quick banter and comfort with each other is apparent, and they bring the audience along on the emotional journey, making us invested in the characters’ happiness.
Unlike the movie, the stage play does not move around to various locations – the whole story is set in the central location of Truvy’s salon. The set has every detail imaginable, from salon-style chairs, to a working sink to wash hair, to the large hairdryer and a manicure station. As the actors move through and interact with the set, it’s easy to imagine this salon as a real, working place and not just a set on a stage.
CATCO has once again put together an impressive and enjoyable production in Steel Magnolias, one that can be appreciated by the whole audience, whether they’ve seen the movie previously or not. The cast is phenomenal, the set is wonderful, and the play itself is well-written and relatable.
If you have the opportunity to see CATCO’s production of Steel Magnolias, do. The show runs through April 13 and is definitely worth the trip downtown. Just make sure you remember your tissues.