‘Steel Magnolias’ proves timeless through audience support at Lincoln Center showings

Molly Strader

“Steel Magnolias” brings a modern classic to local theatre.

The show premiered Jan. 19 at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. Written by Robert Harling in 1987 to cope with the death of his sister, the timeless story follows the lives of six women in a 1980s Louisiana beauty shop. OpenStage Theatre & Company, a nonprofit organization hoping to bring culture to Northern Colorado, produced the show, and CSU professor Debbie Swann took the role of director.

The show drew in fans of the funny yet heartbreaking story, which became a movie in 1989.


“I am a big fan of the story in general and the movie, and I was looking for a chance to get out and see some local theater,” Fort Collins resident Neely Goree said. “It is clear why people care for the story. The characters form bonds with each other and the audience through shared stories of love and life. Their ability to support and care for one another in spite of their differences is heartwarming.”

Swann also shares a long history with the story.

“As someone who grew up knowing the story, I sometimes take for granted how wonderful it feels to see this story play out for the first time,” – Debbie Swann, director.

The actors made the characters even more lovable through their small on-stage hiccups and natural recoveries. “There are some amazing women in the cast I have been excited to work with, and this was the perfect opportunity,” said Swann. “These women help shape the story while making it their own.”

The story is a testimony to women. Through many difficult times, the women stay incredibly strong. As indicated by the title, the women appear fragile but weather the storm like magnolias made of steel.

“I think that there is a phenomenal group of actresses in the play,” Fort Collins resident Donna Hoffman said.

Swann said that so far, audience members have enjoyed the show immensely.

“The response has been wonderful,” Swann said.

The arts are impactful and valuable, and “Steel Magnolias” is no exception. Plays like it are a small part of the larger arts community in Fort Collins. Those who are interested can see the show at the Lincoln Center until Feb. 16.

Tickets can be bought here.

Molly Strader can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @mkstrader.