REVIEW: Truvy’s Beauty Spot is open to audiences

REVIEW: Truvy’s Beauty Spot is open to audiences

The cast of “Steel Magnolias” performs during a dress rehearsal on Nov. 28, 2023. Photo by Icy Smith.

Nostalgia from the 1980s has dominated the current entertainment landscape, and a snippet of the era from the American South has come to Pierce College.

Taking place in Truvy’s (Meagan Truxal) Beauty Spot in the fictional Chinquapin parish of Louisiana during the 80s, “Steel Magnolias” is a story that is as funny as it is emotional.

Based on a true story written in 10 days by Robert Harling after he lost his sister, “Steel Magnolias,” which features an all-female cast, runs until Dec. 10 in the Pierce Dow Arena Theater.

Directed by Shaheen Vaaz, the story follows the gossip and tales shared in Truvy’s Beauty Spot over the course of a couple years that feel familiar to anyone who has sat in a conversation among women.

Those familiar with Julia Roberts and Dolly Parton’s performance in the 1989 cinematic adaptation are sure to find themselves “tickled pink” with this two-act, two-hour blast from the 1980s past filled with callbacks to what some may argue was a happier time, before digitization’s influence on social interactions.

The play opens with Annelle’s (Laura Crane) first day at the shop. She quickly makes an impression with her naivete, ambiguous past and awkwardness, sometimes to the dismay of the other women, such as making coffee with hotdog water. But is a wholesome and adorable character, portrayed well by Crane.

The ladies of the salon rejoice as Truvy does Shelby’s (Emelysse Paez) hair for her wedding later that day. Shelby is ecstatic, but not without some backlash from her mother, M’Lynn (Jasmine Curry), who disagrees with Shelby’s choices for her wedding, including the former’s choice of a “blush and bashful” color palette, which M’Lynn calls “pink and pink.”

Throughout the story, Shelby and M’Lynn clash over the choices Shelby makes, especially how Shelby goes about her life despite the difficulties brought on by Shelby’s Type 1 diabetes and how it interferes with her desire to start a family.

The actors carry the weight of the performance with each member of the cast fitting into their roles.

The cast of “Steel Magnolias” performs during a dress rehearsal on Nov. 29, 2023. Photo by Emil Rizkalla.

Each actor delivers a compelling performance, sporting believable Southern accents. Curry, in particular, had a powerful delivery in emotional scenes, potentially tugging audiences’ heartstrings.

Shelby’s jovial and optimistic nature are aptly captured by Paez with continuous smiles and a cheerful tone despite the obstacles faced by Shelby.

The comedy is one of the production’s stronger elements, delivered masterfully by the chief spitfire Ousier (Donna Accardo) with bitter remarks and pleasant pessimism, complemented by some back and forth with Clairee (Veronica Nix). In addition to the vocal delivery, it is difficult not to be amused by Accardo’s brusque mannerisms whenever Ousier becomes upset.

Audiences may feel like they were teleported to a Louisiana town in the 1980s with costume and scenic design done by Eileen Gizienski and Frederica Nascimento.

The setting is captured well by the use of posters of 1980s hairstyles in Truvy’s Beauty Spot, with walls painted in shades of pink and purple and a backdrop of lush vegetation reminiscent of a bayou.

Truvy and Annelle’s fashion are to be expected of Southern women with classic hairstyles, such as Truvy’s blonde hair. The fashion does not fail with both of these characters’ use of sundresses appropriate for the humidity of Louisiana.

The era-specific ambience is aided by the selection of ‘80s hit music playing on the boombox and between scenes.

For those eager to listen to the gossip shared in Truvy’s Beauty Spot with a touch of ‘80s nostalgia would likely enjoy “Steel Magnolias.”

“Steel Magnolias” runs until Sunday, Dec. 10, with showtimes for Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, call (818) 719-6488, or visit to purchase tickets online.

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