A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Apr 14, 2011
02:39 PM
Spotlight

Not Too Far Gone

Not Too Far Gone

You didn’t read it?

No.

You didn’t read it?

No.

You didn’t read the book?

No.

You didn’t read the book?

No.

You know what book I’m talking about?

Yes.

This book?

I didn’t read it.

This is the opening dialogue of Moonlight and Magnolias, which I heard at Forward Theater Company’s first rehearsal last week. As the actors sat at a table and read from the script, it dawned on me, Oh, no, I haven’t read Gone with the Wind either! Heck, I haven’t even seen the movie (although it’s been in my DVR queue for over a year).

Of course, I’d like to experience both before Forward stages Moonlight and Magnolias, a play by Ron Hutchinson about Hollywood’s struggle to turn Margaret Mitchell’s eight-hundred-page book depicting life in the American South during and after the Civil War into a smash movie. The play runs April 28 to May 15 at Overture Center.

While there may not be time to tackle the book before opening night, Forward’s offering the chance to see the Gone with the Wind at a free screening this Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre. Act 1 is 1–3 p.m., Act 2 is 4–6 p.m.

Seeing the movie beforehand is sure to offer insights into the comedy, set in 1939 Hollywood, more specifically in the office of producer David Selznick. He’s shut down production on the filming of Gone with the Wind and is desperate for a script rewrite.

After ordering his secretary to stock the office with peanuts and bananas, he locks himself, screenwriter Ben Hecht (a.k.a. the guy who hasn’t read the book) and director Victor Fleming in and won’t let them out until they’ve got a great script on their hands that's sure to generate a hit.

Directed by Forward’s artistic director Jennifer Uphoff Gray, the play includes some other familiar faces. Playing Selznick is Mark Ulrich, the technology-obsessed Dr. Givings in Forward’s production of In the Next Room this past fall. Michael Herold plays Hect; those who attended Forward’s monologue festival back in February will remember him as the “nuts guy.” Jim Buske takes on the role of Fleming and Colleen Burns plays secretary Miss Poppenghul. Burns, Buske and Herold are all members of Forward’s advisory company.

In addition to the film screening—not to mention Moonlight and Magnolias opening later this month—Forward is hosting pre-show talks (April 28 and May 5 and 12 at 6:30 p.m., and May 1, 8 and 15 at 1 p.m.) offering insights into the three personalities of the play, the significance of Gone with the Wind and the difference between fact and fiction in the play.

For more information, visit forwardtheater.com.

Photo—of Michael Herold and Jim Buske—by Zane Williams.

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About This Blog

As managing editor at Madison Magazine, I'm also an unabashed arts enthusiast. Paintings, plays, music, movies—I'm intrigued by all forms of creative expression. I enjoy talking with artists and sharing their insights, challenges, inspirations and latest endeavors. Check in regularly for details on events, previews and reviews, artist interviews and more! 

– Katie Vaughn
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiemv

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