`Steel Magnolias' on stage at hotel


“Steel Magnolias” a tale of strong Southern women in the fictional town of Chiquapin, La., in the 1980s, was originally written as a short story by Robert Harling, who was grieving the death of a sister. The play came next. (Off-Broadway in 1987, movie in 1989, Broadway in 2005, with Dolly Parton in the Truvy role).

Cast with strong characters, it has established a place as a favorite for local theater groups, has played around the world and is the 2013 selection for the annual summer fundraiser for Senior Housing Options, a nonprofit that provides housing for about 500 adults in Colorado. It is presented through Aug. 24 in the lobby at the historic Barth Hotel in LoDo, one of 14 SHO residences, with a group of all-star actors.

Truvy's beauty shop is the location for most of the action — a spot where women of many types gather for hair care, gossip and wisecracking free advice from the proprietor. Owner Truvy will be played by Rhonda Brown, who recently starred solo as Molly Ivins in “Red Hot Patriot: the Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.”

Former Broadway actor Billie McBride will return to this stage as Ouiser, the town curmudgeon, and Devon James will play Truvy's assistant, Annelle. Patty Figel will portray eccentric millionaire Miss Clairee and Rachel Fowler will be M'Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby, has just married as the play opens. Adrian Egolf plays Shelby, a diabetic who decides to risk a pregnancy.

Ashlee Temple, who directed last summer's excellent “Driving Miss Daisy” with McBride in the lead part, is again director for this production.

If you go

“Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling plays through Sept. 24 at the historic Barth Hotel, 1514 17th St., Denver. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. Tickets cost $25; $35 for preferred seating. (We suggest reservations since these performances tend to sell out.) Tickets: 303-595-4464 ext. 10; seniorhousingoptions.org.


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