MURRAY — The Playhouse in the Park will be debuting its newest show in the 2019 season tonight, with “Moonlight and Magnolias.”
The show takes place in 1939 Hollywood, where legendary producer David O. Selznick has shut down production of his new film, “Gone with the Wind.”
“Selznick called screenwriter Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming into his office to rewrite the script for ‘Gone with the Wind,’” said director Lynn Melton. “Lots of other people had been working on it, but he didn’t like what they got. So he calls them in with his secretary, Miss Poppenghu, he locks them in his office for five days, feeding them bananas and nuts.”
Melton said the show is a comedy, and takes place over the five days it took the hastily assembled crew to fashion the script for one of the most memorable movies in Hollywood history.
“There’s a big problem; Ben Hecht, who was supposed to be the screenwriter, had never read the novel ‘Gone with the Wind,’ so he knew nothing about it,” Melton said. “So Selznick decides that he and Fleming are going to act out the chapters for Hecht to recreate into a script. And Hecht doesn’t like (author) Margaret Mitchell’s work too much.
“So it is a crazy little show.”
Melton said that the show is based on historical events, and like all works rooted in real life, lends some embellishment to what might have happened in those five days. Melton said she was excited to work on the comedy because, as a teacher, it was nice to touch on a film she utilized to teach kids about the Civil War.
“As a teacher in eighth grade, the Civil War was a great big unit that we always had with our students,” Melton said. “So usually the language arts teachers would either show film clips of ‘Gone with the Wind.’
“I hope people leave having had a good time and think, ‘Oh, my goodness; in the movie world, there is no business like show business.’”
The show opens tonight and will be running through Aug. 25. For more information visit playhousemurray.org or call 270-759-1752.