Tater Patch Players is very proud to join the list of theaters performing one of the most resilient plays to be written in the last 30 years. In the decades since Steel Magnolia debuted at New York’s WPA Theatre, the script has spawned countless stage renditions across the country and abroad.
Robert Harling, a Tulane University Law School grad, wrote the play after deciding against a career in law, opting for the theater instead. He grew up in Natchitoches, Louisiana, with two younger siblings. He wrote the play after his sister, Susan, died from complications of type 1 diabetes. His sister, Susan, had married and decided to start a family, despite doctors’ concerns that doing so could seriously jeopardize her health. She died during minor surgery in 1985, at the age of 33. Afraid his two-year-old nephew would never know who his mother was, Harling started writing. “All I wanted to do was have somebody remember her,” he says.
Now countless audiences have come to love and to mourn the character Shelby, based on Harling’s sister. The five other characters in the play represent different types of strong Southern women. M’Lynn is Shelby’s mother, who shows us all the joy and despair of loving a child and losing her too soon. Annelle, a lost and troubled young woman, grows into the group and shows “steel” of her own. Ouiser, the one that barks like an angry dog, has a heart full of compassion that she only rarely shows. Clairee, raised in wealth and married to (local) fame, is the epitome of a feisty woman who decides to live life fully when she is widowed. And Truvy, owner of the beauty shop that is the haven for all these women, is a regular down-to-earth country woman who has big enough arms to love them all.
Tater Patch Players Theater, at 95 Philadelphia Lane, will perform this show on March 24, 25, 26, 31 and April 1, 2, 7, 8. The Sunday performances are at 2 PM and all others are at 7:30 PM. Tickets can be bought at the box office beginning one hour before showtime, or in advance at taterpatchplayers.org.
For those who cannot afford tickets at this time, the troupe offers the chance to see the final dress rehearsal on March 23, at 7:30 PM. They call this Share Night, and ask that attendees bring a bag or two of non-perishable foods or toiletry items to the theater. These shared items will be donated to the CARES Food Pantry.
For questions, please call 706-253-2800 and leave a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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