'Steel Magnolias' at the Guthrie Dan Norman


Steel Magnolias

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Oct. 26-Dec. 14
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from Oct. 27-Dec. 15
7 p.m.

Thirty years after the iconic film starring Dolly Parton and Sally Field, how do you turn a fresh eye to Steel Magnolias? That was easy for stage director Lisa Rothe: She’s never seen the movie. “I know that seems almost sacrilegious to some people,” she laughs. “When I mention that I’m directing it, people quote lines.” Rothe also hadn’t seen Robert Harling’s 1987 play, the movie’s basis, before recently sitting down with the script. “I thought it was very funny,” she says. “These women have an iron will, and they’re all survivors. The way they deal with so many issues is through humor.” Bringing the play to the Guthrie Theater’s McGuire Proscenium Stage with an all-female cast and design team, Rothe says she aims to evoke the intimacy of the characters’ “safe space” in a Louisiana beauty salon. Despite the story’s Southern setting, Rothe says its themes of friendship and resilience resonated with her Midwestern roots. “These women are very familiar to me,” she says.