By Andrew Tucker
College of Fine Arts and Communication Media Office
CONWAY — One of the great stories of female empowerment and resilience, “Steel Magnolias” will come to the University of Central Arkansas’s Reynolds Performance Hall on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
The show is produced by L.A. Theatre Works, which has reimagined this timeless story about the enduring bonds of friendship in a new, radio-style production featuring a diverse cast of six extraordinary women. Within the walls of Truvy’s beauty shop, set in the deep Bayou of Louisiana, the vibrant women’s lives hinge on the existence of each other. They gather together to share gossip, laughter, recipes and beauty secrets. When tragedy strikes, they face it with sass and strength, supporting each other through thick and thin and forging a life-long bond. Both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, this production exposes the strength of the human condition and our shared need for companionship. The cast includes Inger Tudor, Elisa Bocanegra, Shannon Holt, Monica McSwain, Cerris Morgan-Moyer and Patti Yasutake, who is also known for her roles on “Star Trek: Next Generation,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and more.
L.A. Theatre Works is known for radio-style drama presentations that include minimal sets and costumes, and employ sound effects made the “old-fashioned way” by use of a Foley artist.
“This is an exciting opportunity to see theatre presented in a different style, said Amanda Horton, director of Reynolds Performance Hall. “Radio-style productions are one of the oldest forms of theatre, dating all the way back to the 1800s. You will get to see the actors as well as the Foley artist who creates all of the special audio effects with traditional and non-traditional instruments.”
“Steel Magnolias” was written by Robert Harling, who after years of productive work as an actor in voice-overs and commercials in New York was inspired to write the highly acclaimed stage play, which was based on events from his personal life. Harling adapted his original play into the popular film of the same title, which starred Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah. Over the years, he has become a much sought-after screenwriter. Other credits, to name a few, include “Soapdish” and “First Wives Club.”
Tickets are $30-$40 for adults and $10 for children and students and can be purchased online at uca.edu/Reynolds; at the Reynold’s Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; or by calling UCA Ticket Central at (501) 450-3265 or toll-free at (866) 810-0012.