I have seen seven Broadway shows. The Encore Theatre’s Steel Magnolias is a lot cheaper and just as impressive.
The show drew me in such a way that, for a time, I believed I was watching this story unfold in front of my eyes. Robert Harling’s writing was entertaining, clever and devastating, all while maintaining authenticity.
One specific instance of his genius was in the last scene, when the characters are talking about Shelby’s death without explicitly mentioning Shelby’s death. Then, when M’Lynn came into the salon, I could feel a change in the atmosphere of the theatre. Watching this mother try to carry on after the death of her daughter was so much more heartbreaking than watching her sob. Not to mention the other characters in the scene trying to hold it together for the sake of M’Lynn.
The director, Joe Warnement, skillfully took this scene in that direction. Additionally, the actresses brought this story to life in such an authentic way that I feel like Shelby, Clairee, and the other Steel Magnolias are old friends of mine. They found the perfect balance of acting with the distinct qualities of their character, yet keeping the characters real.
It also helped that the characters were perfectly placed in a well thought-out set that made the performance feel even more authentic. I am just in awe of how powerful a performance was put on at our local community theatre and the talent our community exhibited. Everyone involved with this show should be very proud of the art they made. I encourage this community to support the theatre and, maybe, you will see what I mean.