Laughter Through Tears: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

Laughter Through Tears: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

The Extraordinary Power of Friendship: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

Laughter Through Tears: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

They’re as beautiful and delicate as magnolia flowers, but also as tough as steel. 

A favorite Southern classic comes to life on stage at Fleming Island’s The Island Theater, and it’ll tickle you pink. Robert Harling’s 1987 play—most famous perhaps as a 1989 film starring Julia Roberts, Sally Field, and Dolly Parton—invites us into the close-knit world of small-town Louisiana women as they share life’s ups and downs and support each other during the heart retching death of one of their own. Based on Harling’s experience with the death of his sister, the plotline is moving, powerful, and real. Steel Magnolias is a timeless testament to the human spirit, community, and the power of friendship. 

The set is simple- it takes place entirely in Truvy Jones’ 1980’s throwback beauty salon. Played by Mandy Sad, Truvy is the heart of the community and her salon serves as the ladies’ gathering place through happy times and sad. Through it all, their friendships—and beauty routines—remain. 

Laughter Through Tears: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

Stacy Deuel plays quirky salon worker Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, “who may or may not be married to someone who might be a dangerous criminal.”

Mother/daughter pair M’Lynn Eatenton (Lynette Poupard) and Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie (Jayme Hillyer) create the central plotline. The play opens with Shelby’s upcoming marriage and ends with her death. Her life-threatening Type 1 diabetes threatens to upend her happiness and plans; how she deals with it and honors her doctor’s advice (or doesn’t) causes much tension and conflict between mother and daughter.

Laughter Through Tears: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

Clairee Belcher (Ellen Hare) and Ouiser Boudreaux (Shelley Finn) round out the group of lively beauty shop regulars. They’re impossible not to love. 

Steel Magnolias is full of hilarious, with zippy one-liners, like “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize” and “If he’s trying to drive me crazy, it’s too late.”

 Laughter Through Tears: Steel Magnolias at the Island Theater

You’ll laugh and you’ll cry. The cast brings you along for an emotional roller coaster ride you’ll never forget.

Directed by Chera Bleau and Heather Stephens, Steel Magnolias runs from September 27-October 6. Whether you’re a long-time fan or unfamiliar with the story, it’ll fill your heart with hope. Ladies night! Let the nostalgia overcome you—you’ll feel like you’re home. Laughter through tears is our favorite emotion, and this play simply shouldn’t be missed. 

About Jennifer Melville

Jennifer Melville is a contributing writer for EU Jacksonville, South Magazine, Folio Magazine, Green Prints, Focus on the Family, and various other print and online publications. She’s a military wife, mother of four, and a leader in the NE Florida homeschooling community. You can check out more of her work on her website, Azalea Publications or follow her on Twitter.

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