Steel Magnolias | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Steel Magnolias

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Casting all men in a revival of Robert Harling's 1987 play about six chatty women in a small-town Louisiana beauty parlor is a choice that could backfire in so many awful ways. Yet director Steve Vernon and his smart, sensitive actors have created a satisfying reevaluation of the ultimate chick show, complete with big hair and big laughs. In the intimate storefront space, nothing is camped up--this is female impersonation, not drag. J.R. Rodriguez is marvelous as M'Lynn, the steely matriarch contemplating her daughter's life-threatening pregnancy. Each of the men has at least one memorable moment, and the ensemble's warm rapport is convincing. The show is praline sweet at times, but it's also emotionally resonant. Through 6/25: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Storytellers Theatre Company, 4757 N. Sheridan, 773-769-1766, $15-$20.

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