BRUNSWICK – Robert Harling’s comedy/drama “Steel Magnolias” centers around a small-town beauty parlor and the group of women who gather there. Filled with witty, sometimes revealing repartee, the play follows the friends through life’s big events – a wedding, a birth and illness – as well as its day-to-day trivialities, and what it takes to get through it all.

As it turns out, it takes a woman’s strength.

From May 2 to May 18, the Theater Project’s Professional Ensemble will present “Steel Magnolias” at 14 School St.

A well-known work, “Steel Magnolias” is “one of the most often produced plays in the country, and was, of course, made into a very popular movie. … The appeal and the challenge for me is finding a way to present the story in a sincere, nonmanipulative and honest way. The solution to this lies in the strength of the actors,” said director Christopher Price.

Unlike the movie, there are no male actors in the stage play. The last time The Theater Project presented an all-female production was “Necessary Targets” in 2004, and “Steel Magnolias” brings together most of that highly acclaimed cast. Performers are Wendy Poole as sassy beauty parlor owner Truvy; Reba Short as her new assistant, Annelle; Michele Livermore Wigton as wealthy and foul-tempered Ouiser; Heather Perry-Weafer as social leader M’Lynn; and Liz Chambers as her soon-to-be-married daughter, Shelby. A newcomer to The Theater Project stage is Kate O’Neill who appears as Clairee, wife of the town’s former mayor.

“It is their talent that gives this production its warmth, its real pain, its humor and ultimately the credibility it so richly deserves,” said Price.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and at 2 p.m. Sunday. All tickets are $18. At the Mother’s Day matinee, moms will be admitted free with the purchase of another ticket. Call 729-8584 for reservations.

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