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“Moonlight and Magnolias” — currently in production at the Los Alamos Little Theatre — was one of two plays selected at last weekend’s state theatrical competition to represent New Mexico at the regional competition next month in Texas.
The play, along with “The Laramie Project” performed by the Nat Gold Players of Las Vegas, was selected from among six productions. “Moonlight and Magnolias” also won the award for “best set” among the competitors.
In addition, Larry Gibbons, who plays Ben Hecht, earned an “All-Star Cast” honor at the competition.
The nature of the competition — allowing only 10 minutes to set the show on the stage and 10 minutes to strike the set at the end of the show — means most shows take a bare-bones approach to the competition.
“Moonlight and Magnolias” featured a full set with two doors, an arched window and furniture and props to replicate a Hollywood producer’s office in the 1930s. The entire set has to fit into an 8 foot by 10-foot area before the show, and return to the “box” after the show.
“The judges commented on how impressed they were by our set,” said play director Jillian Burgin.
“Even more importantly, our cast gave a tremendous performance and generated a great reaction from the audience. I encourage everyone to come see this funny and insightful show in its final weekend and give us a strong send-off to the regionals.”
“Moonlight and Magnolias” tells the tale of David O. Selznick’s struggles to bring “Gone With the Wind” to the screen.
He shuts down production on the movie, then isolates himself, writer Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming in his office for five days, with nothing but peanuts and bananas to eat, until he has a screenplay he can work with.
Larry Cox and Richard Wasilewski designed the set for “Moonlight and Magnolias” under the direction of Burgin.
The cast features Warren Houghteling as Selznick, Gibbons as Hecht, Paul Lewis as Fleming and Kate Ramsey as Selznick’s secretary, Miss Poppenguhl.
The state competition is sponsored by Theatre New Mexico as part of the American Association of Community Theatre’s biennial national competition. Regional winners advance to the national competition to be held in Rochester, N.Y.