Truvy Jones runs a successful beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies in the neighborhood have a standing Saturday appointment. Along with her anxious and eager assistant, Annelle, Truvy styles the hair of many of the women about town: wealthy widow and former first lady of Chinquapin, Clairee Belcher, local curmudgeon Ouiser Boudreaux ("I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood for forty years”), intelligent and compassionate career woman M’Lynn, and her daughter Shelby, the prettiest girl in town. Shelby’s engagement is the talk of the town, but the joy and excitement of her wedding quickly turn to concern as she faces a risky pregnancy and a myriad of health complications. As the women of Chinquapin makes their ways over life’s many hurdles together, they find comfort (and a fair amount of verbal ribbing) in one another. “You have no idea how wonderful you are,” M’Lynn tells the ladies at the end of the play. Truvy responds, with a smile, “Of course we do.”
Based on his own experience growing up in rural Natchitoches, Louisiana, Robert Harling’s landmark play Steel Magnolias explores the bonds between six women at a beauty salon. Harling based his play on the death of his sister, Susan, from complications related to diabetes. Combining light-hearted comedy and quirky characters with a serious, heart-rending storyline, Steel Magnolias has appealed to audiences both onstage and in its popular 1989 film adaptation. It has been translated into seventeen languages and has been produced across the world.
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