‘Steel Magnolias’ Onstage at The Public (Tues., 3/28/23)

STEEL MAGNOLIAS by Robert Harling. Pittsburgh Public Theater.  Through April 9.

Truvy’s Hair Salon becomes the womb of all woes when Shelby Eatonton, due to wed that very day, passes out in hypoglycemic shock. She’s been advised not to have children, and her mother M’Lynn reveals she has begged her daughter to call off the marriage ceremony. In the midst of the chaos, Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, shy and recently separated from her no-good husband, Bunkie, arrives to start her first day of apprenticeship to Truvy, only to be interrogated by the circle of women who are Truvy’s most devoted customers and best friends. Like a hornet’s nest, the salon constantly buzzes with snarky innuendo, yet the women know their place in the hive, know when to mind their manners, and know when to sting. Come Christmas, the young bride announces her pregnancy, yet when the baby boy is born to great joy, complications to Shelby’s kidneys cause mortal dangers.

Steel Magnolias, Robert Harling’s bittersweet comedy of women passionate in their dreams (and perplexed by their disappointments) found fame as the popular film, starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, and Julia Roberts, among other stars, in 1989. Harling actually wrote the original as a short story, which he adapted to a one-set, all-women stage play within ten days in 1985. Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production reverts to that original dramatic script, under the direction of Artistic Director Marya Sea Kaminski. 7 p.m. O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Avenue, Downtown. (C.P.O.)

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