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Rep opens with ‘Moonlight and Magnolias’ 

MOONLIGHTING: At the Rep.
  • MOONLIGHTING: At the Rep.

“Moonlight and Magnolias,” Ron Hutchinson’s Off-Broadway comic celebration of maybe the best movie of all time, opens Friday, Sept. 8, at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre for two weeks of performances.

Directed by the Rep’s Robert Hupp, “Moonlight and Magnolias” centers around the screenwriting of “Gone With the Wind,” which was based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 book and was made into a movie in 1939.

A Rep press release describes the plot: “Movie mogul David O. Selznick, desperate for a hit, shuts down his production of the film, and hires Ben Hecht and Victor Fleming to rewrite the script and direct the new version. Locked in Selznick’s office, living on a diet of peanuts and bananas, the men turn their world upside down as they give birth to one of the most beloved films of all time. If only screenwriter Hecht had read the novel. ....”

Hupp says, “‘Moonlight and Magnolias’ is a great production to launch our new season. Our audiences will love the fast-paced humor and enjoy the behind-the-scenes antics that surround such a well-known movie classic.”

Four regional theater veterans star, led by Marc Carver (as Ben Hecht), who previously appeared at the Rep in “Art.” Carver’s many credits include PBS’s “Murder at Harvard,” and he has more than 150 radio voiceovers.

Joseph Graves, who calls Arkansas home when he’s not off teaching in China, plays director Victor Fleming and is in his ninth Rep production. He starred as Lennie in last season’s “Of Mice and Men.”

Alanna Hamill Newton, who portrayed Hillary Rodham Clinton in comedy sketches with Al Franken during his recent radio show broadcast from Little Rock, also stars along with Fredric Stone, who plays David O. Selznick. Stone’s movie credits include “Thief,” “The Untouchables,” “Crime Story” and “Missing Persons.”

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, and 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sept. 24. The opening night performance will include a post-show reception with the cast in the lobby, and there is a sneak preview with pre-show discussion led by Hupp on Thursday, Sept. 7, starting at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $35 for orchestra seating, $30 for first mezzanine and $20 for second mezz. Call 378-0405 or visit www.therep.org.

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