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Steel Magnolias

"Steel Magnolias" ran through March 25 at Theatre at the Center in Munster.

The latest show to hit Theatre at the Center's stage is the poignant "Steel Magnolias."

"Steel Magnolias," by Robert Harling, continues through March 25 at the Munster venue.

Directed by the theater's artistic director, Linda Fortunato, the play, based on Harling's original theatrical work, is set in a Louisiana beauty shop where close friends, including a beloved mother and daughter, gather regularly. They get their hair done, talk about their lives and relationships and provide emotional support for one another during problematic and tragic times.

Audience members will remember the story as told in the hit film "Steel Magnolias," which debuted on screen in 1989 and starred Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah.

This current stage rendition of the production is a winner in all departments. The group of Chicagoland actresses starring in the show display admirable acting skills and are adept at making the witty lines and dialogue come alive in humorous fashion.

Turning in strong performances in the all-female cast are Cory Goodrich as M'Lynn; Landree Fleming as Shelby; Heidi Kettenring as Truvy; Joslyn Yvonne Jones as the comical Ouiser; Jeannie Affelder as Clairee; and Myesha-Tiara as Annelle.

The cast features only women and takes place on only one set, which is the beauty parlor where the women meet. The visually interesting set was designed by Greg Pinsoneault with '80s-inspired costumes by Brenda Winstead. Wig and hair design is by Kevin Barthel.

It's fascinating to watch as characters Truvy and Annelle fix the women's hair during the course of the production. The cast members who are beauty operators in the show were actually schooled by local hair designers for their roles.

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Features reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.