Alternately funny and heart-breaking, Steel Magnolias tells the story of a group of Louisianan women who gather at a local beauty parlor to talk about their lives, loves and losses.
Audiences can’t get enough of those Southern belles, which is why Steel Magnolias has been around for two and a half decades, spanning three different mediums and employing droves of talented actresses. It began as an off-Broadway play in 1987. Two years later, it was turned into the hit film we all know and love, for which Julia Roberts earned her first Oscar nomination. Then in 2005, we had the pleasure of working on the first Broadway production of the show, which starred theatre luminaries Christine Ebersole and Lily Rabe.
On Sunday, a new TV version of Steel Magnolias airs on Lifetime and we’re loving the theatre connections so much we had to make it our Between Shows pick. Director Kenny Leon had two plays on the boards last season: The Mountaintop and Stick Fly. The latter starred Tony Nominee Condola Rashad, who plays the tragic Shelby in this version of Magnolias. Condola’s mother, Phylicia Rashad (a Broadway mainstay and Tony winner for Leon’s 2004 production of A Raisin in the Sun), is ALSO in the movie, playing Clairee, ironically, not Shelby’s mother. Who does play Shelby’s mother, M’Lynn? Queen Latifah, of course, who has never been on Broadway but has starred in enough movie musicals that we really think it’s time to change that! Well? What are you waiting for? Watch the trailer above, then set your DVR to record Steel Magnolias at 9 pm on Sunday, October 7th on Lifetime!
Fun Fact #1: Magnolias Margo Martindale (who played Truvy in the original off-Broadway production) and Phylicia Rashad have both played Big Mama in revivals of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway. They’re also connected through August: Osage County. Rashad played Violet in the Broadway production and Martindale plays Mattie Fae in the upcoming movie, which also stars Julia Roberts!
Fun Fact #2: This is actually not Steel Magnolias‘ first trip to the small screen. A pilot for a TV series aired on CBS in 1990 with a cast that included Polly Bergen as Clairee and Elaine Stritch as Ouiser. How much do we want to see that?