Review: BrightSide Theatre’s Moonlight and Magnolias

Last weekend I had the pleasure of accompanying a friend of mine to see her husband portray Victor Fleming in BrightSide Theatre’s production of Moonlight and Magnolias.

Originally I wasn’t going to write a review for this particular production because I was under the belief that this coming weekend was closing weekend. However, in finding out that mid-Sept was set as the closing weekend… well why not?

So let’s go with the quick:
Acting: LOVE
Directing: LOVE
Set Design: LOVE
Overall: LOVE

Do you really need anymore? Oh very well.

The summary of Moonlight and Magnolias from Dramatists Play Services Inc:

1939 Hollywood is abuzz. Legendary producer David O. Selznick has shut down produc-tion of his new epic, Gone with the Wind, a film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel. The screenplay, you see, just doesn’t work. So what’s an all-powerful movie mogul to do? While fending off the film’s stars, gossip columnists and his own father-in-law, Selznick sends a car for famed screenwriter Ben Hecht and pulls formidable director Victor Fleming from the set of The Wizard of Oz. Summoning both to his office, he locks the doors, closes the shades, and on a diet of bananas and peanuts, the three men labor over five days to fashion a screenplay that will become the blueprint for one of the most successful and beloved films of all time

In all honesty there is nothing more to say except that each of the four individual actors did a fantastic job in their characters and balancing the chemistry between the four of them.

We have the Producer of Gone With the Wind (David O Selznick) portrayed to hilarious perfection by Michael T Black, who looked equally comfortable portray ing a hard pushing high executive as well as Scarlett O’Hara.

Balanced with the more centered (well as centered as a show could be all things considered) Tin Penavic who portrayed the stitch writer: Ben Hecht. Who has never read the book and was tasked with the heculean task of rewriting the screenplay.

Completing this hilarious trifecta of entertainment and hilarity of the week stuck in the office together is your “man’s man director” of Victor Fleming, portrayed by Jeff Gamlin… who throughout the first scene exuded the strength and arrogance of his character only to find him in the throes of childbirth (Victor Fleming attempt at portraying Melanie Hamilton) and dancing around in childlike glee as Prissy.

Once in a while, the audience would have the pleasure of seeing Selznick’s secretary – Miss Poppenghul – as portrayed by Linda Cunningham, whether it is to delivery the latest batch of nuts or bananas… or letting her employer know that his overbearing father-in-law was on the line.

The directing was spot on (Greg Kolack), in balancing the egos of three gentlemen (character-wise) in their prime and pushing the envelope in the hilarity that ensues, whether it was crawling around for food or slapping each other around a la The Three Stooges… this is a must see for anyone and everyone.

I came into seeing this production without any expectations nor knowing what the production was about (as I have a habit of reading up anything and everything about a production before viewing) and walked out not only enjoying the production, but wanting to see it again.

With two more weekends on the horizon I highly recommend a stop, because this is one gem that cannot be missed.

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