The play is called “Moonlight and Magnolias” and is to be staged under Dan Friedman’s direction at the First Congregational Church (108 Sound Beach Ave.) in Greenwich March 20-22 and March 27-28.
Connecticut Playmakers has mounted as many as four productions every year since 1947—musicals, comedies and dramas–assembled by seasoned performers who generally earn a living outside of entertainment and are driven more by a deep-rooted passion for theater and the sheer exhilaration of singing and dancing as opposed to aspirations on the professional stage or TV exposure.
The script by screenwriter Ron Hutchison takes us back to Hollywood in 1939 when the legendary producer David O. Selznick realizes the original screenplay for Margaret Mitchell’s novel is a dud and recruits script doctor Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming to resuscitate the storyline.
They lock themselves in a room for five zany days, subsisting on a diet of bananas and peanuts, and fashion the blueprint for what will become one of the most beloved—and successful–films of all time.
Hutchison’s fractious interplay among the three men plus Selznick’s secretary is characterized by one reviewer as “an impassioned love song and a blazing critique of Hollywood.” Another critic saw it as “a rip-roaring farce with witty, pointed dialogue and hilarious situations.”
Dan Friedman, the director, is also a playwright and actor, based in Carmel, NY and has appeared over the years in Darien, Westport and Wilton.
The cast features David Pollard as Ben Hecht and Tim Cronin as Victor Fleming, both of Stamford, Adam Auslander of Croton-on-Hudson, NY as David O. Selznick and Tina D’Amato of Yonkers, NY as Selznick’s secretary, Miss Poppenghul.
“Moonlight and Magnolias” extends the string of plays to 225 and counting. Projected for later this season—opening May 15—is a cabaret-style production called “Dinner with Disney,” directed by Michele Grace of Fairfield, the artistic director of Connecticut Players, with musical direction by the troupe’s Chris Coogan of Weston.