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In the fall of 2012, David Youse presented the 25th Anniversary Benefit Reading of Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias to raise monies for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Los Angeles Chapter.

In partnership with playwright, Robert Harling, Four Things Productions brought to life the personal story, written for his sister whom he lost through complications of Diabetes.  The 25th Anniversary of this legendary piece, to be presented as a staged reading, brought people of all ages to share, once again, the laughs and tears of this remarkable play.

The original stage production opened Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre, in New York City, on March 28, 1987. It was directed by Pamela Berlin and featured Margo Martindale as Truvy, Constance Shulman as Annelle, Kate Wilkinson as Clairee, Mary Fogarty as Ouiser, Blanche Baker as Shelby and Rosemary Prinz as M'Lynn. The production transferred to the Lucille Lortel Theatre on June 19, 1987, and closed on February 25, 1990 after 1,126 performances. Betsy Aidem took over the role of Shelby, and notable replacements included Rita Gardner as M'Lynn and Anne Pitoniak as Ouiser 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.


Born in Dothan, Alabama, Robert lived in several Southern towns before his family settled in Natchitoches, Louisiana when he was twelve. Upon his graduation from Northwestern University of Louisiana and Tulane Law School, rather than take the bar exam, he opted to become an actor in New York. After years of productive work as an actor in voice-overs and commercials, Harling was inspired to write the highly acclaimed stage play, Steel Magnolias which was based on events from his family life. To this day, Steel Magnolias continues to thrive in theatrical productions in many languages throughout the world.

Immediately bridging a career from stage to screen, Harling adapted his original play into the popular film of the same title which starred Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah. The personal nature of STEEL MAGNOLIAS was further enhanced when the film makers decided to shoot the movie entirely on location in Natchitoches, where the events on which the story was based took place. Over the years, Harling has become a much sought after screenwriter: other credits include SOAPDISH, with Kevin Kline and Robert Downey, Jr.; and the highly successful FIRST WIVES CLUB for Paramount Pictures starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton.

Mr. Harling made his directorial debut with THE EVENING STAR for Paramount, which he also wrote for the screen based on Larry McMurtry’s novel. THE EVENING STAR reunited Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson and co-starred Juliette Lewis, Bill Paxton, Scott Wolf, Miranda Richardson and Marion Ross.THE EVENING STAR was the continuation of one of the most beloved and acclaimed movies of our time, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT.

In 2004, Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore filmed his screenplay of LAWS OF ATTRACTION.

A current project is writing the book for the stage musical version of SOAPDISH.

Harling is in fact currently juggling many projects – an original voodoo musical set in post-Katrina New Orleans, he has created the ABC series GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES – adapting REE DRUMMOND’s number 1 best-selling memoir THE PIONEER WOMAN into a film for Reese Witherspoon -- and he is writing a play set in his Louisiana home entitled The Strangers Room.

JUDITH IVEY director

Judith Ivey is the recipient of the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for her portrayals in Steaming and HurlyBurly, the Obie Award for her performance in The Moonshot Tape, and countless others for her stage and film work. Most recently she was honored with the Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama League nomination for her portrayal of Amanda Wingfield in the Long Wharf Theatre’s production of The Glass Menagerie at the Roundabout Theatre. She received the Texas Medal of Arts Award in Theatre and the Barrow Group’s award for sustained excellence. Some film credits include DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, WASHINGTON SQUARE, MYSTERY, ALASKA, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, LOVE HURTS, COMPROMISING POSITIONS, WHAT ALICE FOUND, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, and the soon-to-be-released THE LOOP. Judith starred in four television series, the most memorable being DESIGNING WOMEN. Some television film credits include THE LONG, HOT SUMMER, WHAT THE DEAF MAN HEARD, and ROSERED. Ms. Ivey recently guest starred on NURSE JACKIE, BIG LOVE, THE WHOLE TRUTH, and GREY’S ANATOMY. Judith’s recent stage performances include Eppie Lederer/Ann Landers in The Lady With All The Answers at the Cherry Lane, and Shirley Valentine at the Long Wharf Theatre. Ms. Ivey’s most recent directing credit is the world premiere of Carapace at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Judith has also directed Vanities-the musical, at the Pasadena Playhouse and Second Stage in NYC, Secrets Of A Soccormon, The Butcher Of Baraboo, Fugue, and Southern Comforts—all in NYC, Bad Dates at Laguna Playhouse and Northlight Theatre in Chicago, More in NYC and Burbank, CA, Steel Magnolias at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX, and most recently, A Short History Of Women at NYSAF at Vassar, and the Roundabout Theatre in NYC. Ms. Ivey is married to Tim Braine, and is the proud mother of Maggie and Tom. Judith has been a member of Actors’ Equity for 37 years, and the SSDC for 8 years.


JDRF is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder of and advocate for type 1 diabetes research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly, and can be fatal. Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump - each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its potential complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation. To help improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes while working toward a cure, one of JDRF's research goals is to support research to develop products that can dramatically improve blood glucose control in people with type 1 diabetes so they can live healthier lives with less risk of developing disease-related complications. Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research, including more than $107 million last year. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education.



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