“Designing Women” is under renovation.
Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of that 1980s and ’90s sitcom about the employees of an Atlanta design firm, has reimagined the show as a stage play. The play, also called “Designing Women,” will bring the TV show’s characters into the present day. It will have its premiere this summer at TheaterSquared in Fayetteville, Ark.
“What I really wanted to do was take those women as we last saw them and set them down right now,” Bloodworth-Thomason said in a telephone interview last week. “They’ll have the same history, be the same people, have the same attitudes, the same philosophies,” she added, “but they’ll be talking about #MeToo and the Kardashians, and Donald Trump, and all that’s going on right now.”
The sitcom debuted on CBS in 1986. Its original cast was led by Dixie Carter, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Meshach Taylor. The show picked up numerous Emmy nominations over the course of a seven-season run, and was widely recognized for taking on tough social topics — including the AIDS crisis, which it addressed in a groundbreaking 1987 episode.
“It was way ahead of its time on all sorts of issues,” Martin Miller, executive director of TheaterSquared, said in an interview, “whether it’s gay rights, reproductive rights, sexual harassment, gun control — a whole host of things that continue to be profoundly relevant.”
The play is scheduled to run at the theater — which recently moved into a new, permanent building — from Aug. 12 through Sept. 13. A director will be announced at a later date.
After its premiere in Fayetteville, the production will transfer to Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Dallas Theater Center. More information is available at theatre2.org.