Frances Conroy Replaces Kathy Bates in 25th Anniversary Reading of Steel Magnolias; Jennifer Coolidge Joins Cast | Playbill

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News Frances Conroy Replaces Kathy Bates in 25th Anniversary Reading of Steel Magnolias; Jennifer Coolidge Joins Cast Golden Globe-winning actress Frances Conroy has replaced the previously reported Oscar winner Kathy Bates in the role of Truvy in the upcoming 25th anniversary reading of Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias, which will be presented Sept. 9 at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

Frances Conroy
Frances Conroy

Bates, who was scheduled to play the role of Ouiser, is unable to be part of the evening due to scheduling complications.

Presented by David Youse, Four Things Productions in association with L.A. Works, the reading will be directed by two-time Tony Award winner Judith Ivey. The cast will also feature Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Elizabeth Perkins, Jennifer Coolidge and Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Annie Potts along with additional cast members to be announced shortly.

The performance, which will raise awareness and funds for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, will be followed by a VIP reception.

“Time passes. Things change. But thankfully, not everything. In the twenty-five years since writing Steel Magnolias, events in our world have stunned, shocked and awed us all," said playwright Harling in a statement. "But every time I revisit this simple tale of complex characters trying to make it through life and death with humor and warmth I am reassured. The basic need to reach out, support and uplift others remains constant. These women are my family -- literally and theatrically."

"Revolving around Truvy's Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day Louisiana," Steel Magnolias, according to press notes, "is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together in a variety of ways. Both humorous and heart-wrenching, all of the action of the play takes place solely on one set — Truvy's beauty salon, which is part of her house. There are only six characters (all female) who appear onstage; a disc jockey's voice is also heard during the play. All the other characters who appear in the film version, such as the males in the ladies' lives, are only referred to in the play's dialogue." The benefit reading will also feature lighting design by Leigh Allen, sound design by Shannon Slaton, technical direction by David Toledo, props by Kent Rogers and graphic design by Studio 56.

Show time will be 6 PM.

The Broad Stage is located at 1310 11th Street in Santa Monica, CA. For tickets and additional information, visit the website at

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