What does a Hollywood producer do when the film the entire country is eagerly anticipating is proving to be a lemon? Shut it down and order a case of bananas, of course.
Moonlight and Magnolias, which opens Friday, March 23, for a three-week run at Caribbean Community Theatre, sneaks us into the office of legendary producer David O. Selznick during a week when his production of Gone with the Wind is in deep trouble. George Cukor has been fired as director. The script is unworkable. Selznick has suspended shooting and is paying the cast and crew $50,000 a day until he can come up with a new screenplay. He pulls director Victor Fleming off the set of Wizard of Oz, hires screenwriter Ben Hecht, and locks himself, Fleming and Hecht in his office, with bananas and peanuts their only sustenance, until they can come up with a complete rewrite. The problem is, Hecht hasn’t read the novel and the script needs to be finished in a week.
“It’s a little bit of farce, a little bit of slapstick, and a little bit of screwball comedy,” says director Jeanne Johnston. “It is also a loving homage to the studio system of the 1930s and the wonderful films it produced. It’s an incredibly fun romp, and the stunning Art Deco set Fran Couch has come up with captures the feel of the era. It’s been a joy to work on this show.”
Charles Braslow plays Selznick, the innovative producer who married MGM chief Louis B. Mayer’s daughter, but then struck out on his own. Bruce Spector takes on the role of Hecht, the former journalist turned screenwriter and Jewish activist. Fleming, the only director to have two films – Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz – in the top ten of the American Film Institute’s list of the Greatest American Movies of All Time, is played by Fred Handleman. Rounding out the cast is Annie Barry, who plays Selznick’s long-suffering secretary, Miss Poppenghul.
There will be seven performances of Moonlight and Magnolias over three weekends: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM on March 23-24, 30-31 & April 6-7, 2012, and one Sunday matinée on April 1st at 4 PM. All performances will be held at the Caribbean Community Theatre, in the Business World building at #18 Estate Orange Grove (behind the Golden Rock Shopping Center) in Christiansted.
Tickets are sold at the box office at CCT prior to each performance: $20 for adults; $18 for senior citizens (age 65+); $15 for college students with ID; and $10 for students/children under age 18. Purchase your tickets in advance on-line at www.tinyurl.com/cct-calendar. Box office opens for ticket sales at 7:15 PM on show nights, and at 3:15 PM for the Sunday matinée; arrive early for best seating. This production is not recommended for children under 13.
Moonlight and Magnolias is jointly supported by a grant from the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, a federal agency.
Cast: Annie Barry, Charles Braslow, Fred Handleman & Bruce Spector.