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Self-Styled Selznick

'Moonlight' a fun riff on 'Gone with the Wind'

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Ron Hutchinson's clever 2004 comedy Moonlight and Magnolias takes a Hollywood footnote and expands it into inspired intellectual slapstick. Directed by Charles Siebert and presented by the Sixth Street Playhouse, the play takes place inside the office of legendary film producer David O. Selznick (a blustering Dodds Delzell, pictured).

Three weeks into production of Gone with the Wind, Selznick has fired his director, thrown out the script and kidnapped a new team of collaborators. Director Victor Flemming (Paul Huberty, adopting a kind of crass, flamboyant cynicism) is locked in the office with reluctant screenwriter Ben Hecht (an appropriately world-weary Adam Syd), and given five days to come up with a new script for Margaret Mitchell's 1,100-word novel—which Hecht has never read.

That much is basically true.

What actually took place in that office over those five furious days was probably not what happens in the play, with Selznick and Flemming acting out the novel, as an increasingly delirious Hecht taps at his typewriter. But historical accuracy matters not—the banter and debate, well-played by this seasoned trio of actors, makes for an illuminating, funny clash of creative minds.

'Moonlight and Magnolias' runs Thursday–Sunday through Feb. 17 at Sixth Street Playhouse. 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. Thursday–Saturday at 8pm; 2pm matinees on Sundays. $15–$25. 707.523.4185.

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