Moonlight and Magnolias at Rugby Theatre

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Rugby Theatre’s upcoming production of Moonlight and Magnolias explores the bizarre story behind the 1939 film Gone with the Wind.

Before one of the most famous films of all time became such a roaring success there were many strange events that happened behind the scenes that remained unknown to many film fans for several decades.

A 1973 book by screen writer Gavin Lambert changed all that. The Making of Gone with the Wind laid bare the unusual tales that unfolded during the making of the film, as film-makers grappled with the towering public expectation that was bearing down on them.

Moonlight and Magnolias is a comedy that explores these goings-on, including how producer David Selznick locked the screen writer and director in his office and demanded them to create a new screenplay for the whole film. As the film is three hours long this was no mean feat, but Selznick had his screenplay ready in a week.

Nicky Main, of Rugby Theatre, said: “This comedy should cheer people up during this terrible winter, as we are treated to the antics, jealousies and amazing personalities of all involved, including Selznick’s put upon secretary Miss Poppengul who finds the whole situation weirder and weirder as time progresses. Time to banish the winter blues to have a chuckle at this clever comedy.”

The play’s writer, Ron Hutchinson is an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter from Coventry. His other work includes John Frankenheimer’s Against the Wall and Robert M Young’s Slave of Dreams. The Goodman Theatre in Chigago’s version of Moonlight and Magnolias was nominated for the 2004 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work.

The play is shown between February 9 to 16 at Rugby Theatre at 7.30pm.

There’s no show on Sunday February 10. For tickets call (01788) 541234.