Favorite

'Moonlight' shines 

Rep's new show a hit about a hit.

“Moonlight and Magnolias,” the Arkansas Repertory Theatre production of Ron Hutchinson’s comedy about the making of the 1939 classic, “Gone With the Wind,” is a lively mix of classic Hollywood legend and slapstick that will entertain fans of the famous film and others with equal aplomb.

On paper, “Moonlight and Magnolias” seems as unlikely a success as “Gone With the Wind” was when movie mogul David O. Selznick (played by Fredric Stone) purchased the film rights to Margaret Mitchell’s book of the same name for $50,000 in 1936. The sprawling epic about the Civil War-era South, with its idealized depiction of slave-owning plantations, Byzantine romantic entanglements and a downright unlikable heroine, was deemed by some as impossible to film.

Likewise, Hutchinson’s conceit — based on Hollywood legend — that locks three one-note characters in a room for a week to write a movie script for a film most in the audience will know by heart (leavened with liberal amounts of old-fashion slapstick and banana jokes) might seem a little too daring for its own good.

But frankly, you won’t give a damn. It’s hilarious. Everyone from “Gone With the Wind” obsessives to those with only a casual familiarity with the film will be entertained, as Selznick and director Victor Fleming (Joseph Graves), yanked off the set of “The Wizard of Oz,” improv the film from start to finish, with screenwriter Ben Hecht (Marc Carver) rewriting the script on the fly. Key scenes — the iconic opening sequence, O’Hara slapping a slave, Rhett’s famous final kiss-off — take shape before our eyes, with Selznick keeping the men awake for hours on end, fueling their scripting binge with peanuts, bananas and a desire to make one final, great Hollywood picture.

Carver, Stone and Graves rise above Hutchinson’s broad-strokes characterizations and deliver side-splitting turns. (Watch for Graves’ Kramer-esque pratfalls.) Even Alanna Hamill Newton is endearingly funny as Selznick’s harried secretary, despite little stage time.

“Moonlight” director and the Rep’s Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp keeps the action humming on Mike Nichol’s nicely detailed set, which, along with a cool newspaper headline montage between the first two acts, effectively evokes that old Hollywood feel.

“Moonlight and Magnolias” continues through Sept. 24.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lance Turner

  • Smooth sailing for Public Theatre

    The Public Theatre of Little Rock began its 2005-06 season with “Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill,” a voyage through the German composer’s musical catalog. And, while the remnants of Hurricane Rita rumbled through the city during the Saturday show, it w
    • Sep 29, 2005
  • More »

More by Jim Harris

Readers also liked…

  • An uneven 'Macbeth'

    Michael Stewart Allen as Macbeth carries the play.
    • Sep 17, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Forget identity politics

    Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Latest in Theater Reviews

  • Standout acting

    In romantic 'Bridges.'
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Life during wartime

    The Rep updates Homer with 'An Iliad.'
    • Mar 3, 2016
  • A modern Pan

    "Peter and the Starcatcher" adds a modern flair to the Peter Pan story.
    • Jan 28, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Woeful

    • If the UA could get the SEC to stop all games if at any time…

    • on December 2, 2016
  • Re: Woeful

    • The Mizz loss was worse than getting beat by Louisiana-Moron

    • on December 2, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation