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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Drink Your (Expired?) Juice at Stale Magnolias

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Jef Valentine, Marilynn Fowler and - Robert Molossi - JAMES JORDAN
  • James Jordan
  • Jef Valentine, Marilynn Fowler andRobert Molossi

One of the more quotable films of the late '80s, Steel Magnolias has a cast that feels like a once-per-century cosmic alignment: Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, and doomed diabetic daughter Julia Roberts (along with Tom Skerritt, Dylan McDermott, Sam Shepard, and an armadillo-shaped red velvet cake with grayish icing that doesn't survive).

click to enlarge Jef Valentine and - Robert Molossi - JAMES JORDAN
  • James Jordan
  • Jef Valentine andRobert Molossi
Combining it with a "lost season" of Designing Women and Fried Green Tomatoes into one twisted fantasia of female empowerment, Oasis will stage Stale Magnolias, a musical by Sean Owens (books and lyrics), Don Seaver (music), and Jordan L'Moore (wigs), directed by Cora Values. It's like a so-called women's' picture, only instead of weeping there will probably be a lot of skewering.

click to enlarge Marilynn Fowler - JAMES JORDAN
  • James Jordan
  • Marilynn Fowler
Shifting the action from Louisiana to the town of Rectal, Texas in 1985, it focuses on six women at the time when one ethos reigned: The higher the hair, the closer to God. A musical version of Owens' 2009 play (also called Stale Magnolias) that crammed the characters into a hairdresser's and crammed the hairdresser's full of Dixieland archetypes, Stale Magnolias relies on the drag talents of Marilynn Fowler, Jef Valentine, Robert Molossi, Michael Phillis, Drew Todd, and Jeremy Navarro

This being Oasis, where another original musical titled Shit & Champagne made one reference to fecal matter after another, prospective audience members should be aware that two people will be plucked from the darkness for each performance and subject to a "Rectal Reclamation" makeover (which may or may not put them in the show's finale).

All gay men have track lightin', Olympia Dukakis says to Shirley MacLaine at one point in Steel Magnolias, but in Stale Magnolias, expect some house lights and a lot of fiery glares.

Stale Magnolias, July 21 - Aug. 6, Thursdays through Sundays, 7 p.m., $25-$35, at Oasis, 298 11th St.

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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