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Lyric's Plaza Theater makes welcome home for Truvy's House of Beauty

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Lyric Theatre wraps up its Lyric at the Plaza series with a production of "Steel Magnolias," and it is good to see the company continue to branch out beyond the big, glitzy musicals that have been part and parcel of its repertoire for more than 40 years.

One wonders, however, why the deciders at Lyric opted to stage another revival of this often-produced weeper, but the show answers one intriguing question: We know that the Plaza Theatre is an excellent venue for viewing musicals and comedies, but what about dramas?

Now hear the good news that the Plaza Theatre is excellent for dramas, too (although, strictly speaking, "Steel Magnolias" would be classified as a comedy/drama, but close enough). With the congenial Plaza's excellent acoustics and sight lines, the theater does not have a bad seat in the house.

Of course, the Plaza lacks the art deco charm of Civic Center Music Hall's Freede Little Theater, another of the city's excellent small theaters, but with its red-brick walls and modern, loft-like atmosphere, the Plaza is the Freede Little's sleek, hip great-granddaughter.

"Steel Magnolias" concerns the triumphs and tragedies of six women who are denizens of Truvy's House of Beauty in Chinquapin, La., in the 1980s. This distaff soap opera/sitcom teems with one-liners and presents exactly one transformational plot twist in each of its four scenes. One character goes through K

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