Based on a true story, inspired by Robert Harling’s sister, Steel Magnolias opened off-Broadway in 1987 and a movie deal was made within six months. The film was made in 1989, starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and the little-known but soon to be Oscar-nominated Julia Roberts – the last time she would appear in a movie without A-lister status.
Based on a true story, the play opens on Shelby's wedding day in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin at Truvy's in-home beauty parlour, where the women regularly gather.
It covers events over the next three years: Shelby's decision to have a child despite the potential medical complications; Clairee's volatile friendship with the curmudgeon Ouiser; Annelle's transformation from a shy, anxious newcomer in town to a good-time girl then repentant revival-tent Christian; and Truvy's relationships with the men in her family.
Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother M'Lynn, and Shelby's medical battles, the underlying group friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the sometimes hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking, play.
Last Edited 31 May 2016