“STEEL MAGNOLIAS:” A POIGNANT PLAY OF FRIENDSHIP


BONNIE GOLDBERG

When Shelby Eatonson declares “I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a whole lifetime of nothing special,” she is speaking from the heart. Shelby is just one of six incredible women who form a sisterhood, meeting as they do in Truvy’s Beauty Parlor, to discuss all that is going on in their tiny southern parish in Louisiana.

 

Playwright Robert Harling pays tribute to his sister Susan, her life and her death, in a beautiful story of love and of enduring friendship that is “Steel Magnolias.” The Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin will raise a glass to this sextet of women weekends until Saturday, June 2.

 

Magnolias, flowers of the South, are known for their fragrance and beauty, but here they are credited with stems of steel. In Truvy’s welcoming establishment, they mark births and deaths, weddings and anniversaries and share the gossip that can curl or tease your hair as well as Truvy (Melinda Learned) or her new assistant Annelle (Tracey Brown) are trained to do.

 

Truvy is the mother hen who lovingly nurtures her chicks, like Annelle who draws comfort from prayer and the Lord to get through her troubles, Clairee (Joanne Callahan-Roohr) who, even though dethroned by death from her position as the wife of the mayor is still alive and kicking and ready for a little adventure and Ouiser (Louise DeChesser) who loves to be shockingly cranky and outspoken even though there may be a heart of gold under the cactus thorns.

 

Completing the sorority are M’Lynn (Julie Lemos) who prides herself on facing reality and all its joys and sorrows with honesty and her precious, pretty in blush and bashful shades of pink, daughter Shelby (Kaite Corda) who refuses to let her health problems interfere with her desire for all of life’s gifts.

 

Prescribing to the adage “There is no such thing as natural beauty,” these women friends congregate at Truvy’s to celebrate Shelby’s wedding to Jackson, holding her close to their hearts when she becomes pregnant, against doctor’s advice, to create a little spark of immortality. Kris McMurray directs this touching tale of sisterhood and survival.

 

For tickets ($30), call CT Cabaret, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15 p.m. Remember to bring goodies to share at your table or purchase cake and drinks on site.

 

Stand by these proud ladies as they learn how to find laughter through their tears.

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