Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"After all, tomorrow is another day."

If you're at all a fan of Gone with the Wind or enjoy the kind of behind-the-scenes stage farce epitomized by Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, you might enjoy the Manhattan Theatre Club's Moonlight and Magnolias, running through May 8 at City Center. Set entirely in the office of David O. Selznick, it depicts the last-minute rewriting of the script for what some call the most popular movie of all time.

A lot of laughs are drawn from Selznick (the producer) and the director ("Victor Fleming") acting out sequences from the book/script, so that the rewrite guy ("Ben Hecht") knows how the story goes, since he claims to have never actually read Margaret Mitchell's book, which was a bestseller of unheard-of proportions at the time. Some of the jokes wear a bit thin, and the more serious debates over race, ethnicity and ethics in moviemaking (all with the drums of another world war in the background) don't always fit so well amid the antics. But overall, if you can stomach the overdone melodrama of GWTW, you won't mind this take on its genesis.

To hear an audio clip of the last line of the movie -- which is the target of much derision by the rewrite guy in the play -- click here (.WAV starts immediately).

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