Carmen Cusack Will Play Julia Sugarbaker in Stage Adaptation of Designing Women

Regional News   Carmen Cusack Will Play Julia Sugarbaker in Stage Adaptation of Designing Women
Performances of Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s play will begin in September at TheatreSquared.
Carmen Cusack Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Designing Women, the 1986–1993 CBS series about four very women who run the Sugarbaker & Associates a design firm in Atlanta, will begin in-person performances September 22 at TheaterSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The production will also be available to stream starting October 1.

As previously reported, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who created the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated series, has penned the stage adaptation. Harry Thomason, director and executive producer of the TV show, will co-direct with Amy Herzberg.

Bright Star Tony nominee Carmen Cusack, who returns to Broadway in November in the new musical Flying Over Sunset, will play the indomitable Julia Sugarbaker.

Cusack will be joined by Amy Pietz (Caroline in the City, The Office) as Suzanne Sugarbaker, Sarah Colonna (Shameless, Chelsea Lately) as Mary Jo Shively, Elaine Hendrix (Dynasty, Parent Trap) as Charlene Frazier, Carla Renata (Hart of Dixie, Avenue Q) as Cleo Bouvier, Kim Matula (The Bold and the Beautiful, LA to Vegas) as Haley McPhee, and Elizabeth Ofodile as Cleo's daughter Alfie.

This Designing Women is set in 2020, and Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo, and Charlene are back—and they have plenty to say about our current times. COVID is raging, a consequential election is just days away, and Atlanta is at the center of the storm.

"Designing Women has a special magic," said Bloodworth-Thomason, "and a ubiquitous appeal. It would seem to be the perfect theatrical venue for sharing an evening of humor while sitting next to people you can’t stand."

The production will also have scenic design by Kimberly V. Powers, costume design by Helene Siebrits, lighting design by Jason Lynch, sound design by Chris Renfro, and prop design by Brodie Jasch.

When the series debuted on CBS in 1986, the designing women of the title were Dixie Carter, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, and Annie Potts; Meshach Taylor also starred as Anthony Bouvier, a delivery man who eventually becomes a partner in the business. The show regularly addressed social and political topics of the day.

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