Although the cast of "Steel Magnolias" is comprised solely of women, the story appeals to fans of both genders and contains plenty of comedy, as well as poignant moments for the audience to enjoy.
The play debuted off-Broadway in 1987, and was made into a film starring Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah and Julia Roberts in 1989. It was produced on Broadway in 2005. Robert Harling wrote the story as a way of coping with the death of his diabetic sister, Susan Harling.
Terence Goodman has been directing plays every other year for Old Lyric Repertory Company for the past eight years, after partially retiring from a 20-year career as a professional actor and making Park City his permanent home.
Goodman was a little worried when he was asked to be the only man working with six women for OLRC's season opener "Steel Magnolias," premiering Thursday, June 14, but said he has been pleasantly surprised.
"This is one of the most professional casts in Utah that I have ever had the pleasure to direct," he said.
Previously, Goodman lived in New York and Los Angeles and appeared on several sitcoms -- including "Laverne and Shirley" and "Three's Company." He also worked in film, co-starring in the 1976 movie "Ode to Billy Joe."
Goodman was a regular on "Days of Our Lives" for two years and "The Young and the Restless" for one year. After settling in Park City, he worked as artistic director for the Egyptian Theatre from 2007 to 2009.
His history with OLRC goes back to 1988, when there was a writer's strike and actors had difficulty finding work.
He decided to spend a season in Logan acting with OLRC that year and liked the city so much that he ended up staying until 1990, earning his master's degree in directing from Utah State University before heading back to Los Angeles.
When Goodman moved to Park City, becoming involved as a director with OLRC was a natural for him.
"I love Logan. It is so beautiful in the summer," he said.
"I am supposedly retired and raising my 8-year-old son," Goodman said of his current life, which includes working for Pioneer Theatre and Salt Lake Acting Company, as well as appearing in independent films and commercials.
The cast of "Steel Magnolias" includes six characters, women in various stages of life, who meet at Truvy's Beauty Parlor once a week to have their hair done. The story takes place in Louisiana, and the title suggests that the characters are as delicate as magnolias or tough as steel when they need to be.
"It has always been a real hit in community theaters. It is a very funny play with a lot of heart," Goodman said. The story has universal themes that are as relevant today as they were 25 years ago.
Goodman has found "Steel Magnolias" to be one of those rare gems that audience members come back for again and again.
"It is so heartfelt," he said. "You come for the laughs and you leave with a tear in your eye.
"It is the perfect opening show for a summer season. It has a little bit of something for everyone. Men will love it, too."
THE OLD LYRIC SEASON
Here is the Old Lyric Repertory Company 2012 summer season at the Caine Lyric Theatre in Logan:
• “Steel Magnolias” — Step into Truvy’s Beauty Parlor, where a seemingly frail Southern belle can be as delicate as a magnolia or as tough as steel. This drama visits six women, united in friendship, supporting each other through triumph and tragedy with tenacity and wit. Playing at 7:30 p.m. June 14-16, July 7, 18 and 26; August 1, 9 and 18; with 2 p.m. shows July 7 and August 18.
• “Private Lives” — Two divorced couples find themselves honeymooning in neighboring rooms at the same hotel with their new spouses in this Tony Award-winning play showing at 7:30 p.m. June 21-23; July 5, 13, 28; Aug. 10 and 17; with a 2 p.m. show July 28.
• “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” — Follow Jim and Huck Finn down the Mississippi in this toe-tappin’, knee-slappin’ musical based on Mark Twain’s classic 1884 novel and set to music by the great country singer-songwriter Roger Miller. Playing at 7:30 p.m. June 28-30; July 6, 20 and 25; Aug. 4 and 8; with 2 p.m. shows June 30 and Aug. 4.
• “Lend Me a Tenor” — Opera star Tito Merelli goes missing during the Cleveland opera’s gala fundraiser. With a nod to the madcap screwball comedies of the 1930s, this modern farce has had audiences gasping for breath as they navigate mistaken identities, blinding ambition, plot twists, slamming doors and inflated egos. Playing at 7:30 p.m. July 11-14, 19 and 27; Aug. 2, 3 and 11; with 2 p.m. shows July 14 and August 11.
• “Greater Tuna” — Find out what happens in the third-smallest town in Texas, Greater Tuna, with this two-actor show tuned into the radio station OKKK, where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never died. Playing at 7:30 p.m. July 17, 21, 24 and 31; Aug. 7, 14 and 16; with a 2 p.m. show July 21.
• “Charlotte’s Web” — Unlikely friends Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider capture the amazement of the state fair in this timeless classic by E.B. White. Playing at 7:30 p.m. July 23 and 30; Aug. 6 and 13; with 2 p.m. shows July 23 and 31 and Aug. 7 and 14.
Tickets are available 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Caine College of the Arts Box Office at Utah State University, in Room 139B of the Chase Fine Arts Center; or by calling 435-797-8022 or visiting arts.usu.edu.
Tickets are also available 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and one hour prior to each 7 p.m. performance, at the Caine Lyric Theatre, 28 W. Center St., Logan.
Prices are $18 to $25 for adults, $15 to $21 for seniors and USU faculty and staff, and $12 to $18 for USU students and youth.
— SOURCE: Kara Rindlisbacher, Old Lyric Repertory Company