Munster's Theatre at the Center will open its Steel Magnolias May 29; previews began May 27. The run is set through June 20.
Scheduling conflicts forced Cindy Williams, best known as Shirley from TV's "Laverne and Shirley," to leave the production of Magnolias. Replacing her is Karen Valentine, another sitcom veteran who won an Emmy Award on "Room 222" and starred in her own series, "Karen."
Valentine's other TV appearances include stints on "The Twilight Zone," "Murder, She Wrote," "The Love Boat" and "Cybill." Her New York theater credits include Breaking Legs, Romantic Comedy, On the Beach and The Raunchy Dame in the Chinese Raincoat. She also boasts numerous regional credits across the country.
Northlight Theatre (Chicago) associate artistic director Cecilie D. Keenan directs Magnolias. Featured in the cast are Nancy Baird (Shirley Valentine) as Truvy Jones, a role she has played several times in the Chicagoland area, Amy Landecker as Shelby Eatenton, Caitlin Hart as Ouiser Boureaux, Heidi Kettenring as Annelle Dupuy-DeSoto and Lolly Trauscht as Clairee Belcher.
Designing Magnolias are Scott Cooper (sets), Shannon McKinney (lighting), Sherry Milbrath (costumes), Brian Johnson and Michael Weber (sound). For tickets ($20-$22), call (219) 836-0422.
The Theatre at the Center's 1999-2000 season begins with Magnolias. The rest of the season includes Little Shop of Horrors by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (June 24-July 18), the area premieres of Swinging on a Star -- The Johnny Burke Musical (July 22-Aug. 15) and Stephen Sondheim-George Furth's Getting Away With Murder (Sept. 16-Oct. 18), plus Some Like It Hot -- The Musical featuring Dale Benson and Marc Robin (Aug. 19-Sept. 12) and Meet Me in St. Louis (Dec. 2-Jan. 16, 2000).
-- By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones.