Moonlight: Students shine in production of ‘Moonlight and Magnolias’

“Moonlight and Magnolias”, a play written in 2004, is a farcical look at the behind-the-scene birth of “Gone with the Wind,” a famous motion picture based off the book of the same name.

Presented by the Department of Theatre and directed by Daryl W. Phillipy, “Moonlight and Magnolias” was originally written by Ron Hutchinson. The play ran from Friday through Sunday and sold out the first two nights.

“This play is based on a true to life meeting between the maverick film producer David O. Selznick, director Victor Flemming and screen writer Ben Hecht,” Phillipy, Assistant Professor of Theatre, mentioned in his director’s notes. “However, this is where any similarities to the real life characters being portrayed end.”

The setting for the show was a Hollywood studio lot, the office of producer David O. Selznick in 1939. The show follows Selznick, Hecht and Flemming over the period of five days as they try to create a script for “Gone with the Wind.”

Selznick and the others are locked in his office with nothing but bananas and peanuts until they finish the script. But the writer has yet to read the book. This leads to Flemming and Selznick having to act out the book for Hecht even though it is more than 1,000 pages.

The characters clash as they insult each other, and Selznick and Flemming have a hard time getting Hecht to write anything down because he thinks the movie will turn out to be garbage anyway.

But as the five days come to a close, Selznick and Flemming convince Hecht to keep the ending of the script the same as the book by allowing him to create an alternate ending for the movie.

After the play ended Sunday night, the actors waited in the lobby to greet the audience members as they exited.

The cast included Judd Cavitt, junior from Benton, Ky., as legendary producer David O. Selznick. Salar Ardebili, senior from Tehran, Iran, played Ben Hecht, and Chase Chadwick, senior from Murray, played Victor Flemming.

Also in the cast was Helena Jones, freshman from Mayfield, Ky., who played Miss Poppenghul, Selznick’s secretary. There was also some voice acting in the play as well.

The play ran for a final time at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Though the Department of Theatre does have more shows planned for this season, they do not plan on producing “Moonlight and Magnolias” again, Phillipy said.