Liz Smith reports that Rabe will play young beautician Annelle Dupuy Desoto, the role played on screen by Daryl Hannah. Rabe joins the previously announced Delta Burke and Christine Ebersole.
Burke ("Designing Women," Thoroughly Modern Millie) will play Truvy, who runs the beauty parlor where the play is set, and Ebersole (42nd Street) will play M'Lynn, whose daughter Shelby is the focus of the play, set in modern-day Louisiana.
Lily Rabe has been seen on screen in "Never Again" and "Mona Lisa Smile." Her stage credits include Speaking Well of the Dead and The Crazy Girl. Steel Magnolias will mark the actress' Broadway debut.
Robert Harling's popular play will make its Broadway debut at the Lyceum Theatre. Previews begin March 15, 2005, toward an opening of April 4. Jason Moore (Avenue Q) directs the production.
"Scores of actresses" are still auditioning to play the other strong Southern women who inhabit the comedy-drama, according to the producers. The 1987 Off-Broadway play blossomed in regional theatre and became a starry hit movie (with Dolly Parton as Truvy, Sally Field as M'Lynn and Julia Roberts as Shelby).
Robert Harling has said in the past that he wrote the play in a short time period, basing it on real-life characters and events in his family and hometown.
Shelby's marriage, pregnancy and well-being are all addressed in the play. The title refers to the genteel but tough ladies who spar with — and support — each other.
Marsha Mason and Frances Sternhagen are among the many names being bandied about for roles in the production.
Roy Gabay and Robyn Goodman are producing Steel Magnolias.
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 Lucille Lortel Theatre, Steel Magnolias originated in New York at the WPA Theatre.