Two terrific shows premiered last weekend in
At Colonial Players, "Moonlight and Magnolias" is set in 1939 and tells the behind-the-scenes story of making the film version of
Ron Hutchinson's "Moonlight and Magnolias" reveals that
Selznick engaged screenwriter Ben Hecht to rewrite the script and
Hutchinson indicates how Selznick became the producer of the most successful movie in Hollywood's then-30-year history. The playwright also reveals that beneath the film version of Mitchell's
Colonial Players director Ron Giddings highlights the humanity of these film moguls to balance their bullying moments. Giddings found the right combination to create a fast-paced, highly physical comedy. His cast becomes a trio of masterful comedians delivering lightning barbs. Skilled mimicry makes each iconic film character instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with "Gone with the Wind."
Making a memorable
Jim Reiter plays Hecht with a wry cynicism laced with political idealism. Communicating amused disbelief at his situation, Reiter's Hecht is a pro who can deliver an acceptable script in five days.
As Fleming, who is pulled from directing
Kaelynn Miller, who was last seen on CP's stage as Meg in "Little Women," gives an amusing portrayal of Selznick's overworked secretary, Miss Poppenghul. Miller's masterful double takes and expressions of disbelief punctuate her dialogue, which consists mainly of "Yes, Mr. Selznick."
Meanwhile, Infinity Players opened its summer season at the
This jukebox musical recaptures the close harmonies and unique sound of the internationally famous Andrews Sisters — Maxene, LaVerne and Patty — who entertained thousands of troops during World War II.
Tracing the singers' career from competitions in talent contests, the story is told through a series of vintage hit songs with interspersed dialogue describing their parents, their travels, their landing a contract with Decca records and their work with manager Lou Levy.
Jay D. Brock of Catholic University, whose directing credits include productions at Limelight Theatre and Woolly Mammoth as well as Opera AACC's recent "Naughty Marietta," directs a wholly professional cast in this brisk combination concert and musical biography.
Returning as Infinity's music director, David Libby brings his sure touch to lend authenticity to every song.
Kim Schafer, who has an impressive array of Broadway credits, choreographs all the right moves through the swinging decades of the Andrews Sisters.
Along with appearing on stage as Vic, fabulous pianist Jonathan D. Cable opens the show playing a medley of familiar tunes and follows by bringing distinction to every number.
Steve Gagliastro's amazing versatility brightens the entire show. He serves as the narrator; doubles as
Julia Burrows shines as lead singer Patty Andrews, singing the solo "I Love You Much Too Much."
Equal credit is due Jackie Washam as Maxene and Lynsey Buckelew as LaVerne, who with Burrows earned enthusiastic applause after their every number from the opening night audience that spanned all age groups.
Lively audience responses, including rhythmic clapping to punctuate "Beer Barrel Polka," added to the fun and created an exciting, concertlike atmosphere.