Comedic play tackles the creation of classic movie

WEBSTER CITY – Webster City Community Theatre is preparing for its upcoming production of “Moonlight and Magnolias.”

Performances of the adult comedy are slated for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and April 11 and 12, and 2 p.m. on April 6 and 13.

Tickets are $10. Reserve tickets can be obtained at the box office at 1001 Willson Ave. from 5 to 7 p.m. on weeknights or 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. People can also call 832-4456 or order online at www.wcctonline.org.

Directors Abby Sharp and Kayleen Kehoe are putting the finishing touches on the production which tells the tale of how Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel, “Gone with the Wind,” became the Academy Award-winning movie.

Sharp encourages people to “Come see ‘Moonlight and Magnolias’ as a way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this world-renown movie. This play gives WCCT the opportunity to challenge our actors and show our audience the breadth of talent they can exhibit.”

Adapting the 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning story of the Civil War, Reconstruction proved no easy task.

The play, penned by Ron Hutchinson and historically based, brings together a 1930s-era Hollywood producer, director and playwright as they struggle to revise the screenplay in just five days.

Featured in the cast is Dale Arends, of Belmond, as producer David O. Selznick, who delayed filming until 1939 when Clark Gable was available to play Rhett Butler and Vivian Leigh was finally selected from a pool of 14,000 starlets for the part of Scarlett O’Hara.

Mark Andrew portrays the film’s director, Victor Fleming, who was pulled from the set of “The Wizard of Oz” to replace George Cukor, who was fired shortly after filming began.

Famed screenwriter Ben Hecht, portrayed by Kevin Sharp, was brought in despite the fact that he hadn’t even read the book. To bring him up to speed – and delight the audience, the Selznick and Fleming characters act out scenes from the book as Hecht types away.

Selznick’s secretary, Miss Poppenghul, portrayed by Susan Leman, is the only character who regularly enters and exits the office – and usually with the day’s supply of bananas and peanuts.

(Note to those with allergies: Lots of real peanuts are used in the production.)