Frances Conroy Replaces Kathy Bates in 25th Anniversary Reading of STEEL MAGNOLIAS in LA Today, 9/9


Today, September 9th, 2012, David Youse, FOUR THINGS PRODUCTIONS in association with L.A. WORKS will present an unprecedented staged reading of the critically-acclaimed play, "Steel Magnolias" at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. In partnership with playwright Robert Harling, FOUR THINGS PRODUCTIONS is honored to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this remarkable story written for Harling's sister whom he lost through complications of diabetes. This very special performance will be directed by two-time Tony Award winner Judith Ivey and will feature multiple Emmy nominee and Golden Globe-winning actress Frances Conroy, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominee Elizabeth Perkins, Jennifer Coolidge and Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Annie Potts, along with additional cast members to be announced shortly. Conroy is replacing the previously-announced Kathy Bates in the role of Ouiser due to a scheduling conflict.

The official 25th Anniversary Staged Reading of "Steel Magnolias" is being presented to raise awareness and funds for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The performance will be followed by a VIP reception, catered by As You Like It Catering/GRUB Restaurant owners Betty Fraser, from the second season of Bravo Network hit "Top Chef", and Denise DeCarlo. Sponsors for the evening include the Huntley Hotel, Lifetime Television (who will be airing a 25th anniversary remake of the film, "Steel Magnolias" in October), Lincourt Vineyards, Stone Brewing Co., Tender Greens, Waiakea Water and The Original Yummy Cupcakes.

"Time passes. Things change. But thankfully, not everything. In the twenty-five years since writing STEEL MAGNOLIAS, events in our world have stunned, shocked and awed us all. But every time I revisit this simple tale of complex characters trying to make it through life and
death with humor and warmth I am reassured. The basic need to reach out, support and uplift others remains constant. These women are my family -- literally and theatrically." – playwright Robert Harling.

The original stage production of "Steel Magnolias" opened Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre, in New York City, on March 28, 1987, under the tutelage of artistic director Kyle Resnick . It was directed by Pamela Berlin and featured Margo Martindale as Truvy, Constance Shulman as Annelle, Kate Wilkinson as Clairee, Mary Fogarty as Ouiser, Blanche Baker as Shelby and Rosemary Prinz as M'Lynn. The production transferred to the Lucille Lortel Theatre on June 19, 1987, and closed on February 25, 1990 after 1,126 performances. Betsy Aidem took over the role of Shelby, and notable replacements included Rita Gardner as M'Lynn and Anne Pitoniak as Ouiser. The play went on to become a successful and critically-acclaimed Oscar-nominated feature film starring Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine, Dylan McDermott, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard and Tom Skerritt.

Revolving around Truvy's Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day Louisiana, "STEEL MAGNOLIAS" is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together in a variety of ways. Both humorous and heart-wrenching, all of the action of the play takes place solely on one set - Truvy's beauty salon, which is part of her house. There are only six characters (all female) who appear onstage; a disc jockey's voice is also heard during the play. All the other characters who appear in the film version, such as the males in the ladies' lives, are only referred to in the play's dialogue.

The performance on September 9th, will begin at 6pm. The Broad Stage is located at 1310 11th Street in Santa Monica, Calif. For tickets and additional information, visit the website at

Complete design team for the 25th Anniversary Staged Reading of Steel Magnolias:

Producer: David Youse
Co-Producer: Ferrell Marshall
Associate Producer: Victoria Delaney
Production Stage Manager: JJ Jackman
Casting: Nicole Arbusto
Lighting Design: Leigh Allen
Sound Design: Shannon Slaton
Technical Director: David Toledo
Props: Kent Rogers
Graphic Design: Studio 56
Ticket Coordinator: Jennifer Sorenson
Legal: Gordon Firemark
Social Media Executive: Cindy Yantis

(JDRF) is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF is to improve the lives of every person affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal. For additional information on The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit

And for more about Four Things Productions, go to

Photo by Theo Wargo, ©, Image courtesy

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