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Magic Circle season opens with 'Moonlight & Magnolias'

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Magic Circle Players are pleased to open its 57th season with the comedy "Moonlight & Magnolias." Written by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Ron Hutchinson and directed by local Tony Ryan, the fast-paced comedy opens for three weekends beginning on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Evening performances continue Sept. 10, 16-17, 23-24, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on Sept. 11 and 18.

The play is set in the Hollywood studio office of the legendary film producer David O. Selznick. In 1939, after a two-year search for a leading lady, the movie of Margaret Mitchell's bestselling epic novel, "Gone with the Wind," is finally in production. Three weeks into shooting, Selznick (played by Jim Mitchell) has shut down production. He has just five days to replace a flawed script and an uncooperative director. Selznick turns to director Victor Fleming (played by Bob Dietrich), taking him off the set of "The Wizard of Oz" to direct the movie, and he taps legendary playwright, screenwriter and script doctor, Ben Hecht (played by M. A. Smith) to rewrite the script. There is a complication, however: Hecht may be the only American in 1939 who hasn't read the book.

Locking himself, Fleming and Hecht inside his office for five straight days and nights, Selznick drives them all to exhaustion as they frantically work themselves to a pulp trying to save one of the most beloved movies of all time. Their only link to the outside world is through Selznick's assistant, Miss Poppenghul (played by Suzanne Doudy-Rose), who bravely fends off intrusive phone calls from gossip columnists, rival directors and nervous financiers, while replenishing the captives' diet, which is limited to peanuts and bananas.

Hutchinson's play, directed by Ryan, is a rapid-fire exchange of situational high jinks, punctuated by slapstick episodes. The laughs keep coming as the characters struggle against the march of time, Hecht's ignorance of the original storyline and their own exhaustion. Yet, beneath the veil of the play's broad-based humor are darker undertones of how Hollywood's ethics, ambitions and discriminations affect those caught up in the entertainment industry. Due to adult themes, situations and language, parental discretion is advised.

Be sure to reserve your tickets now for Magic Circle Players' 57th season opener "Moonlight & Magnolias." Magic Circle Theatre is located at 420 S. 12th Street, Montrose. For information or online tickets visit the website at www.magiccircleplayers.

com or call 970-249-7838. The box office is open from 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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