The play takes place in a garage converted to a beauty salon, during the 1980s, and involves a tightly knit group of women friends whose husbands (being absent, depressed or dead) leave them lots of time to gossip at the parlour.
Gossip is what they do best, and one of the characters even appropriates Alice Roosevelt Longworth's immortal line, "If you have something bad to say about somebody . . . sit down right here beside me!"
What the women treasure most is anyone with a "past", and when the gawky new girl at the beauty parlour confesses that she "thinks" she is married, they draw closer and hold their breath.
The beauty shop is operated by Truvy (Terri Hill) and the play starts with her doing hair and nails for young bride-to-be Shelby (Sam Bonanno), who almost faints when she sees herself in the mirror.
It's not shock, it's diabetes, and a glass of orange juice brings her around.
Truvy has just hired a new girl Annelle (Sarah Barrel), who does her best with the mother of the bride M'Lynne (Debbie Hannan).
Dropping in to exchange insights are Ouiser (Gill Kenay), the richest and meanest woman in town, and Clairee (Kay Morrison) whose character has lost her husband, the former mayor.
These six women are the steel magnolias of the title, Southern belles who are dippy on the outside but strong enough inside to survive any challenge, of which, in this play there are many.
At first we are not aware of any impending tragedy, however, because the play sticks so successfully to its comic dialogue.
Tickets are $15 adults; $12 concession; $10 under-18; $5 under-12.
Get your tickets online at tickethost.com.au or from Cascade Garden Centre in Gladstone, helloworld travel in Nambucca Heads, Wonderland Framing in Kempsey, or Stuarts Point Pharmacy.
Evening shows are BYO drinks and nibbles.
All shows include coffee and cake at interval.
Show times are;
Gladstone Community Hall - Friday, April 8 at 7.30pm
Nambucca Community and Arts Centre - Sunday, April 10 at 2pm
Oddfellows Hall, Kempsey - Friday, April 15 at 7.30pm
Stuarts Point Community Hall - Saturday, April 16 at 7.30pm