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Montgomery Playhouse Moonlight and Magnolias

By • Sep 17th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Moonlight and Magnolias by Ron Hutchinson
Montgomery Playhouse
Asbury Methodist Village Rosborough Center, Gaithersburg, MD
Through September 26
1:50 with one intermission
$16/$14 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 11, 2010

In the MGM office of movie producer David O. Selznick inĀ 1939, he, along with director Victor Fleming and writer Ben Hecht, have one week to rewrite Gone with the Wind before filming begins. Subsisting on bananas and peanuts only, these three men are walking the thin line between real and unreal in the make-believe world of Hollywood.

Montgomery Playhouse’s production of Moonlight and Magnolias was uneven. Was it meant to be a comedy or farce, or a dialogue on the impact that the movies have on society (and the impact society has on the movies)? At times, the situation itself, two grown men prancing around Selznick’s office was funny, but the mood would shift quickly as Hecht (David Jones) complained about something or made political statements. At times, Jones appeared to be trying too hard to be his character, it simply didn’t feel right. Victor Fleming (John Allnutt) appeared very comfortable on stage, especially when he was acting out the role of the pregnant girl, although the joke just after that scene (when he left the restroom) fell flat. Selznick (Dino P. Coppa) was stiff, although his demeanor did noticably shift as the five days of work continued. Melissa Powell as Selznick’s secretary Miss Poppenghul was a breath of fresh air, becoming more disheveled as the five days went on, but maintained her attractive apppearance while expressing her exhaustion at supporting the team’s efforts to rewrite the script.

The set was designed by David Jones. While using the entire space of the stage, it may have been a bit too wide. A more cramped space would have helped the audience see everything that was happening. At many points, two actors were working on one side of the stage, while the third went to one side to do some business. The business was usually entertaining, but you couldn’t easily watch both sets of action at the same time. The costumes (McKenna Kelly and Roxanne Fournier Stone) were well done. Patrick Hughes’ choices for pre-show and intermission music was wonderful.

I liked how the office continued to get more and more messy as the show continued. Without giving any of the specific humorous details away, near the end of the show when the writing team was geting a bit punchy, the scene was very well done when they all blew off some steam.

I don’t think you need to be very familiar with Gone With The Wind to enjoy this production, but it may help. I wasn’t sure if some of the scenes from the novel being acted out by Allnutt and Coppa made it into the movie or not. If you are a huge fan of Gone With The Wind, Moonlight and Magnolias may be seen as a travesty of your memories of the movie.

Cast

  • Ben Hecht: David Jones
  • Victor Fleming: John Allnutt
  • David O. Selznick: Dino P. Coppa
  • Miss Poppenghul: Melissa Powell

Crew

  • Producer: David Jones
  • Director: Frank DeSando
  • Assistant Directors: Katie Mays Reedy, Melissa Powell
  • Stage Manager: Debbie Shelley
  • Set Design: David Jones
  • Master Carpenter: David Jones
  • Set Construction: Bruce Angstadt, Frank DeSando, David Jones, Paul Shoop
  • Set Painting: Bruce Angstadt, Frank DeSando, David Jones, Melissa Powell, Debbie Shelley
  • Set Dressing: Susan Click, Kathy Fallow
  • Properties: Susan Click Frank DeSando, David Jones
  • Lighting Design: Alex Henry
  • Sound Design: Patrick Hughes
  • Costume Design: McKenna Kelly, Roxanne Fournier Stone
  • Lighting Technician: Veronica Johnston, Frank DeSando
  • Sound Technician: Patrick Hughes
  • Stage Crew: Bruce Angstadt, Debbie Shelley, Steven Quillin
  • Photography: Kay coupe
  • Load-In Crew: Bruce Angstadt, Susan Click, Din Coppa, Nancy Davis, Frank DeSando, Sophie Haber-Sage, Alex Henry, Veronica Johnston, David Jones, Devon Luce, Gale Luce, Melissa Powell, Steve Quillin, Katie Mays Reedy, Debbie Shelley, Paul Shoop
  • Light Hang Crew: Steve Deming, Alex Henry, Devon Luce, Steve Quillin, Kyle Reedy

Disclaimer: Montgomery Playhouse provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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