Carmen Cusack Is Julia Sugarbaker in Stage Adaptation of Designing Women Starting September 22

Regional News   Carmen Cusack Is Julia Sugarbaker in Stage Adaptation of Designing Women Starting September 22
 
Performances of Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s play Arkansas' TheatreSquared.
Carmen<b data-rte2-sanitize="bold"> </b>Cusack (seated) as Julia Sugarbaker with, from left, Kim Matula as Haley McPhee, Carla<b data-rte2-sanitize="bold"> </b>Renata as Cleo Bouvier, Sarah Colonna as Mary Jo Shively, Amy Pietz as Suzanne Sugarbaker, and Elaine Hendrix as Charlene Frazier.
Carmen Cusack (seated) as Julia Sugarbaker with, from left, Kim Matula as Haley McPhee, Carla Renata as Cleo Bouvier, Sarah Colonna as Mary Jo Shively, Amy Pietz as Suzanne Sugarbaker, and Elaine Hendrix as Charlene Frazier.

Designing Women, the 1986–1993 CBS series about four very different women who run the Sugarbaker & Associates design firm in Atlanta, begins in-person performances September 22 prior to an official opening September 24 at TheaterSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The production will also be available to stream starting October 15.

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who created the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated series, penned the stage adaptation. Harry Thomason, director and executive producer of the TV show, directs with associate direction by Amy Herzberg.

Bright Star Tony nominee Carmen Cusack, who returns to Broadway in November in the new musical Flying Over Sunset, plays the indomitable Julia Sugarbaker. Starting October 13, Katherine LaNasa (Truth Be Told, Judging Amy) steps into the role and continues through the end of performances and for the streaming release.

The cast also features Amy Pietz (Caroline in the City, The Office) as Suzanne Sugarbaker, Sarah Colonna (Shameless, Chelsea Lately) as Mary Jo Shively, Elaine Hendrix (Dynasty, Parent Trap) as Charlene Frazier, Carla Renata (Hart of Dixie, Avenue Q) as Cleo Bouvier, Kim Matula (The Bold and the Beautiful, LA to Vegas) as Haley McPhee, Elizabeth Ofodile as Cleo's daughter Alfie, R. Ward Duffy (Blindspot) as Wynn Dollarhyde, and Matthew Floyd Miller (Call of the Wild) as Caulder Clay. The company also includes Debra Capps, NaTosha DeVon, and Tatiana Watts.

This Designing Women is set in 2020, and Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo, and Charlene are back—and they have plenty to say about our current times. COVID is raging, a consequential election is just days away, and Atlanta is at the center of the storm.

"Designing Women has a special magic," said Bloodworth-Thomason, "and a ubiquitous appeal. It would seem to be the perfect theatrical venue for sharing an evening of humor while sitting next to people you can’t stand."

The production also has scenic design by Kimberly V. Powers, costume design by Helene Siebrits, lighting design by Jason Lynch, sound design by Chris Renfro, and prop design by Brodie Jasch. Casting is by Elizabeth Barnes and Seth Caskey.

Performances continue through October 24.

When the series debuted on CBS in 1986, the designing women of the title were Dixie Carter, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, and Annie Potts; Meshach Taylor also starred as Anthony Bouvier, a delivery man who eventually becomes a partner in the business. The show regularly addressed social and political topics of the day.

For ticket information visit Theatre2.org.

(Updated September 22, 2021)

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