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Review: DESIGNING WOMEN at TheatreSquared brings the Sugarbaker sass to NWA

World premiere play by Linda Bloodworth Thomason

Review: DESIGNING WOMEN at TheatreSquared brings the Sugarbaker sass to NWA

If you were a fan of the television show Designing Women back in the 80s and early 90s (which I was), this show is for you. If you were not watching tv back then, this is still for you. Giving off a Feminist vibe with a southern spin from the moment you enter the theatre, this production covers all of today's topics including #metoo, Black Lives Matter, COVID, and Donald Trump. There is also a nod to Cardi B and the Kardashians.

In this episode, the play picks up where the show ended and places the ladies in November 2020, before and after the election. Georgia is a 50/50 state and could be the deciding factor for the presidency. Julia Sugarbaker (Carmen Cusack), Suzanne Sugarbaker (Amy Pietz), Mary Jo Shively (Sarah Colonna), and Charlene Frazier (Debra Capps) are roughly the same age as they were in 1993, Anthony is gone and replaced by Cleo Bouvier (Carla Renata), Cleo's daughter Alfie (Elizabeth Ofodile) hangs out there, and they have a new receptionist Haley McFee (Kim Matula), who is Charlene's sister.

If you feel uncomfortable with discussing topics outside of polite conversation, BEWARE! Julia now has a blog and seems to irritate the masses with her quick wit and loathing of Trump. Also, she develops a relationship with the handsome builder Wynn Dollarhyde (R. Ward Duffy), which proves to have some challenges during quarantine; Suzanne is distraught by her divorce with Caulder Tipton III (Matthew Floyd Miller), who is a devout Trumpster and can't stop using the "P" word (female body part); Mary Jo goes to court to help prosecute a former boss from 30 years ago who made sexual advances towards her; and Charlene goes on vacation, but ends up catching COVID. New girl Haley is a Christian who brings her beliefs to work with her and may possibly have a gay husband, and Cleo is a lesbian who actively tries to correct the racism that Suzanne unwittingly shows and thinks that Haley is judging her on her life choices. Sisterly rivalry and a house divided fuels the laughter with this play.

Written by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and directed by her husband Harry Thomason, this World Premiere is sure to charm the rest of the world as it has in Northwest Arkansas. I loved every minute of the play and didn't even notice that it was over two hours long. I laughed, blushed a little, laughed some more, and mumbled under my mask for Charlene to not die of COVID. It was witty, sassy, sexy, and I wished that there was a follow-up episode.

How to Get Tickets

DESIGNING WOMEN will play through October 24. Get your tickets at www.theatre2.org/designing-women or call the Box Office at 479.777.7477. You must wear a mask and present your COVID shot card or proof of a negative test completed within 72 hours of the performance date. And as always, TheatreSquared does not disappoint. This is a show you do not want to miss!



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