Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Upcoming: Moonlight and Magnolias, Gaslight Baker Theatre, Lockhart, January 29 - February 13

More about the play, received directly from the Gaslight Baker Theatre in Lockhart:

Hollywood never looked so funny
By Janet Christian

Have you ever seen a grown man lying atop a desk, pretending to be in labor? No? How about three grown men standing in a triangle performing a mesmerizing array of cheek slaps, to see which will look best on camera? Not that either? Well, then, how about a harried but hard-working woman doing her best to handle three hungry, sleep-deprived, slightly crazed men? Yeah, probably!

All these scenes and many more are yours for the viewing when you attend the Gaslight-Baker Theatre's production of Moonlight and Magnolias directed by Todd Martin, one of our best local directors. The plot was conjured by writer Ron Hutchinson from a real Hollywood incident.

In February 1939, Producer David O. Selznick shut down production of Gone with the Wind and fired screenwriter Sidney Howard and director George Cukor. Selznick then pulled Director Victor Fleming off of the Wizard of Oz and summoned famous screenwriter Ben Hecht.

The plot of Moonlight and Magnolias springboards off these actual facts to take a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at how Selznick, Fleming, and Hecht managed in a few days to rewrite the screenplay and establish a whole new direction for the action and plot. Especially if, as the play claims, Hecht had never actually read the famous novel!

Hecht and Fleming are convinced they'll fail, until Selznick states, "Movies are a series of moments frozen in time by the only time machine ever invented." Inspired by Selznick's words, and surviving solely on a diet of bananas and peanuts, the men get to work. Selznick and Fleming re-enact every major "moment" in the book while Hecht turns their comical acting skills into actual screenplay scenes.

David Schneider creates the perfect persona for the harried, financially committed Selznick, who knows that this picture can make or break him. Steve Lawson plays the talented and pompous but secretly vulnerable Fleming for all he's worth. Randy Wachtel brings to vivid life the idealistic Hecht, perfectly depicting the writer's frustration at not only being expected to write a screenplay for a story he's never read, but for even being asked to write about such an unpopular theme as slavery and supremacy in the Old South. And Esther Williams memorably plays the ever-patient and ever-unappreciated Miss Poppenghul, Selznick's personal secretary.

If you love Gone with the Wind this play is a must see. Even if you've never read the book or seen the movie, you'll still enjoy this peek at how the Big and Powerful in Old Hollywood might have made things happen!

Moonlight and Magnolias opens Friday, January 29 and runs through Sunday, February 14, with performances each Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and two matinees at 2 p.m. -- one on Saturday, February 6 and the other on Sunday, February 14. Rated PG for mild language.

The Baker Theatre is located at 216 S. Main, one block south of the Lockhart town square For more information, contact the theatre at 512-376-5653 or visit their web site: www.GaslightBakerTheatre.org

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