Directed by Marilyn Tullgren
Three weeks into filming ‘Gone With the Wind’ Atlanta has burned, Scarlett O’Hara has been cast, but there’s no workable script and the director has been fired. Legendary film producer David O. Selznick seemingly has the biggest white elephant in Hollywood on his hands and only five days to save the troubled production from certain failure. While fending off the film's stars, gossip columnists and his own father-in-law, Selznick sends for famed screenwriter, Ben Hecht, and pulls formidable director, Victor Fleming, from the set of The Wizard of Oz. He needs a new script! The only problem is that Hecht, his writer, is the only adult in the country who had not read the book. "Does the movie have to be set in the Civil War?" he asks an incredulous Selznick. The clock is ticking. The panic begins to gallop!
Based on a true story, the three set about to reenact the entire book for each other, Civil War included, so they can fashion their new script. With the shades drawn, phone calls unanswered, and subsisting only on a diet of peanuts and bananas, hilarity and all hell break loose over five days of madcap lunacy and fist fights, birthing babies and trying to structure the greatest last line in movie history. As the NY Daily News said, "Frankly, my dear, this is one funny play!”
For audiences – and for movie buffs, especially – Moonlight and Magnolias is a dream come true — a hilarious comedy about what it might’ve been like when three gigantic Hollywood talents converge to hammer out one of the most famous films of all time.
“Moonlight and Magnolias has everything I love in a play,” says production director Marilyn Tullgren. “First of all, I love the physicality of the 1930's & 1940's. The styles, the look of the architecture and furniture, the hats! And some of the greatest comedies ever came out of those studios. The rapid dialogue, the feisty repartee, the commitment to absolute lunacy. Ron Hutchinson has captured all of that and constructed one of the best comedies of the last couple of decades, in my opinion. He has turned real-life historical figures into lovable hysterical characters capable of topping each other with wilder and crazier and more passionate ‘nitwitery’. It’s what actually happens when artists set about making film and theater. You see artistic collaboration at its best … and at its worst! If you think you’ve got a dumb idea, I’ve got a better one!
“I love working with actors on physical comedy. The pacing, the staging, all the wild comic moments the playwright tosses at us, vintage Hollywood insider stories, power struggles, racial issues, and believable, strong characters! Working with Mark Tullgren as the boss Selznick, Gregory Lesch as the irascible Flemming and Sam Murphy as the wise cracking Hecht is a delight. They have great comic timing and are willing to jump into the deep end over and over again. We have such fun at rehearsals surprising each other. They really are a great bunch of ‘bananas’….......oh.......I don't want to give too much away, but peanuts and bananas are seriously involved!