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Southern Touchstone Steel Magnolias Graces The Dixie’s Stage

Posted 2/6/19

HUNTINGDON — The ideal venue for a play full of strong Southern women, tradition, wit and charm, The Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center will be home to Robert …

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Southern Touchstone Steel Magnolias Graces The Dixie’s Stage

Posted

HUNTINGDON — The ideal venue for a play full of strong Southern women, tradition, wit and charm, The Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center will be home to Robert Harling’s bittersweet Steel Magnolias this March 15 and 16.

Steel Magnolias chronicles the story of Shelby Eatenton, her mother M’Lynn and their small, tight-knit group of friends.   While the strong bond of friendship is certainly in the forefront of the play, the story also focuses on another kind of strength, the quiet kind that allows us to face hardship and carry on. With each other, the women of the play face head on the struggles of hard decisions, the joys of family and the heartache of unfair loss.   Set in a small town beauty shop in northwest Louisiana, Steel Magnolias takes a peek under the poised grace of southern femininity to reveal the real fortitude that keeps our communities going.

In the 32 years since Steel Magnolias was written and opened off Broadway, it has become a fiber in our shared history.   Though the play is distinctly Southern, countless stage renditions have premiered across the country and internationally, striking deep chords with their audiences wherever they show. The play also inspired the well-loved movie by the same name.  

However, author, Robert Harling, a Tulane University Law School graduate turned actor, never imagined the success the play received. He wrote it, instead, as a way to cope with his younger sister’s death. Like Shelby in the play, Robert’s sister Susan died of complications from Type 1 diabetes, exacerbated by carrying and giving birth to her only child.

After her death, Robert was stricken with grief and anger.   And even though he wasn’t a writer, he began to write. The strength of his sister and mother and the coterie of women who surrounded and supported them filled Robert’s pages.   He never thought his script would see the light of day. “All I wanted to do was have somebody remember her,” he says.

Little did Harling know that his tribute to his sister which did so much to heal his family would also do so much to bring audience members together.

The cast for The Dixie’s production of Steel Magnolias is as follows: Shelby Eatenton- Allison Replogle, M’Lynn Eatenton- Angie Tucker, Truvy Jones- Julie Cooke, Clairee Belcher- Melissa Powell, Ouiser Boudreaux- Blair Ecker, Annelle Dupuy- Aileen Davis, and Katie McGill as director.

Tickets are $20 for 7 p.m., Friday, March 15, and 2 p.m., Saturday, March 16.   For more information, contact The Dixie Box Office at 731-986-2100, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or visit The Dixie online at www.DixiePac.net.   This event is sponsored by Friends of The Dixie.

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