Moonlight and Magnolias
by Anthony Chase
American Repertory Theater of WNY will finish its season with a zany comedy in which playwright Ron Hutchinson fantasizes about five days in Hollywood when movie titan David O. Selznick fired legendary director George Cukor from Gone with the Wind, shut down production, put the script through gazillion rewrites, and went on to make movie history. In Moonlight and Magnolias, Selznick locks director Victor Fleming into his office—newly yanked from The Wizard of Oz—along with screenwriter Ben Hecht, who has never read the book and doubts that it’s good movie material to begin with.
Nobody will leave until they’ve got a script.
As the rewrites begin, Selznick and Fleming act out all the characters in Margaret Mitchell’s novel for clueless Hecht while the famed scribe types away. By the third day, tempers flair, as exhaustion and hunger take their toll. Three days without bathing inspires an attempted escape.
For this daft occasion, ART has deployed the talents of Buffalo funny lady Gail Golden to direct. Her cast of ART regulars includes Guy Wagner as Hecht, David C. Mitchell as Selznick, Todd Fuller as Fleming, and Jamie Nablo as long-suffering secretary Miss Poppenghul.
Moonlight and Magnolias will play through May 18 in Bittner Hall at Church of the Ascension, 16 Linwood Avenue. For details see On the Boards or contact American Repertory Theater of WNY box office at 634-1102 or visit the website at www.artofwny.org.
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