Liz Smith reports that Burke — of "Designing Women" fame — will play beauty salon owner Truvy, the role portrayed in the film of the same name by Dolly Parton. The gossip columnist also confirms that Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole will be part of the Broadway company; Ebersole is set to play M'Lynn. The four other female roles remain to be cast.
As previously announced, Jason Moore, who directed Broadway's Avenue Q, will stage the Broadway bow of Harling's Off-Broadway and regional smash, Steel Magnolias. The play will open on Broadway April 4, 2005, at a theatre-to-be-announced.
The 1987 play Steel Magnolias concerns the gossip and affection swapped at a beauty shop in Natchitoches, Louisiana (pronounce it "nack-a tush"), as the daughter of a beloved customer heads toward marriage and motherhood. Prior to its long run at the Lortel Theatre, Steel Magnolias originated in New York at the WPA Theatre.
Hollywood actresses scrambled for parts in the film, and the roster eventually included Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Sally Field and Julia Roberts (with actors Sam Shepard, Tom Skerritt and Dylan McDermott filling out roles only mentioned in the play).
The small-cast, one-set play is a standard in stock, amateur and regional theatre. The property made playwright Harling a rich man and got him a Hollywood deal, too: He co-wrote the screenplay to 1991's "Soapdish." Delta Burke is best known for playing self-interested, opinionated Suzanne Sugarbaker on the hit series, "Designing Women." Burke's other television credits include "Delta" and "Women of the House" (both produced by her own production company, Perseverance, Inc.), "DAG," "Filthy Rich," "First and Ten," as well as a recurring role on "Popular" and recent guest appearances on "Touched by an Angel," "Promised Land," "Any Day Now" and "Family Law." Her television film credits include "Going for Broke" and "Dangerous Child" (both for Lifetime Television), "Melanie Darrow" (also producer), "Maternal Instincts" (also executive producer) and "A Promise to Carolyn." Her feature film credits include "What Women Want," "Sordid Lives" and "Good Boy!" She is the author of "Delta Style: Eve Wasn't a Size Six and Neither Am I!," published by St. Martin's Press. After representing Florida in the Miss America Pageant and winning a talent scholarship, Burke attended a two-year study program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Since 1989, she has been married to actor Gerald McRaney.
Recently in Talking Heads at the Minetta Lane Theatre, Christine Ebersole received a 2003 Tony nomination for her performance in Lincoln Center’s recent production of Dinner at Eight. She also received a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her work as Dorothy Brock in the hit revival of 42nd Street. Ebersole’s other Broadway credits include The Best Man, Getting Away with Murder, Harrigan 'n Hart, Camelot, Oklahoma!, On the Twentieth Century, I Love My Wife, Angel Street and the City Center Encores! productions of A Connecticut Yankee, Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, Lady in the Dark and Allegro.