Robert Harling's comedy-drama about female friendships has seen many stage incarnations since its debut in 1987, not to mention a popular film version with Dolly Parton. Now comes a sparkling revival from East West Players with an all–Asian-American cast. Hiwa Bourne does the honors as the sassy, opinionated Truvy, whose small-town Louisiana hair salon (well designed and accoutered by Christopher Scott Murillo) is a gathering spot for a small group of gal pals. The shy, self-effacing Annelle (Lovelle Liquigan) is Truvy's newest hairdresser and able assistant. Clairee (Dian Kobayashi) is the sobersided widow of the town's mayor struggling to find a purpose in life. M'Lynn (Patti Yasutake) is the overly protective mother of bride-to-be Shelby (Ruth Coughlin), whose battle with diabetes and its poignant aftermath provide a thin but serviceable emotional arc. Then there's the terminally cranky Ouiser (Karen Huie), who, by her own admission, has been in a "bad mood for 40 years." Sprightly banter, ensemble chemistry and comic timing are the heart and soul of this piece, and the cast ably acquit themselves, guided by the perceptive direction of Laurie Woolery. East West Players David Henry Hwang Theater, 120 Judge Aiso St., Little Tokyo; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Oct. 6. (213) 625-7000, eastwestplayers.org.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 11. Continues through Oct. 6, 2013