June 8, 2023


Creative living

Designing Women play by original creator to premiere this summer

2 min read

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has new designs for Designing Women.

The creator of the beloved workplace sitcom, which ran on CBS from 1986-1993, has written a stage play adapting the series. The play, also titled simply Designing Women, will debut this summer at TheaterSquared in Fayetteville, Ark.

Designing Women, the sitcom (whose complete run recently became available on Hulu), follows four women who work together at an interior design firm in Atlanta: president Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter); her partner and ex-beauty queen sister, Suzanne (Delta Burke); divorced mom Mary Jo (Annie Potts); and naive country girl Charlene (Jean Smart). The four openly and frankly discuss everything about their lives, from sex and love to politics and religion. The series was known for tackling political and social issues of the time — including sexual harassment, gender and racial inequality, and the AIDS epidemic — and earned numerous Emmy nominations over the course of its run.

The new play will bring the central quartet (“roughly the same age as we last saw them,” according to a press release) to 2020, where the country’s increasingly hostile polarization has divided them as well, pushing them toward selling the firm and parting ways.

Sony Pictures

“What I really wanted to do was take those women as we last saw them and set them down right now,” Bloodworth-Thomason told the New York Times. “They’ll have the same history, be the same people, have the same attitudes, the same philosophies, but they’ll be talking about #MeToo and the Kardashians, and Donald Trump, and all that’s going on right now.”

In 2018, a Designing Women sequel series was revealed to be in the works at ABC, with Bloodworth-Thomason on board. That project would reportedly follow the next generation of Sugarbakers and a group of young female designers at an Atlanta interior design firm.

The play, meanwhile, will run Aug. 12 through Sept. 13 in Fayetteville, after which the production will transfer to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Dallas Theater Center in October and November. More information is available at theatre2.org.

Related content: