Ben Hecht (Jarel Davidow), left, struggles to put the finishing touches on the screenplay for “Gone With the Wind” while David O. Selznick (Jonathan Cantor), standing, and Victor Fleming (Aaron Holbritter) look on in the Lake George Dinner Theatre production of “Moonlight and Magnolias.”
When Terry Rabine asked Aaron Holbritter if “Moonlight and Magnolias” would be a good fit for the Lake George Dinner Theatre crowd this summer, Holbritter gave him a confident thumbs up.
With one question answered, Rabine offered up another idea to Holbritter.
“He asked me if I might be interested in auditioning,” said Holbritter, a Pittstown native and long-time actor/director in the Capital Region theater community. “He knew I had done it for the Theater Barn in 2009, and we’ve been friends for a while. He knew there was a lot I liked about the play.”
Holbritter said yes and for the next two months will put his directing duties on the back burner and concentrate on acting. Unlike his Theater Barn experience in New Lebanon two years ago, in which he played writer Ben Hecht, Holbritter will portray director Victor Fleming in Lake George.
“I love something that’s rooted in fact, and then the writer puts a very comical and interesting spin on what actually happened,” said Holbritter of “Moonlight and Magnolias.” Then you take it to the farcical level, and it turns into something very Carol Burnett-esque. And I grew up on Carol Burnett. I love that sort of thing.”
'Moonlight & Magnolias'
WHERE: Lake George Dinner Theatre, Holiday Inn Resort, Route 9, Lake George
WHEN: Lunch performances, 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. curtain, Tuesday through Thursday; dinner performances, 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. curtain, Wednesday through Friday; through Oct. 12
HOW MUCH: $69, $40 show only
MORE INFO: 306-4404 or www.lakegeorgedinnertheatre.com
“Moonlight and Magnolias” was written by television and screenwriter Ron Hutchinson, and first performed at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 2004. It is set in 1939, and based on a five-day stretch in Hollywood when film producer David Selznick reputedly locked himself in his office with Hecht and Fleming and didn’t come out until they were done with what had been a troubled movie script. What they were trying to do was adapt Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Gone With the Wind,” for the screen.
Theater's new fare
“Moonlight and Magnolias” is not the typical romantic fare usually offered by the Lake George Dinner Theatre, according to Rabine, the theater company’s producer.
“I picked this show for two reasons,” said Rabine. “I wanted something that got away from the romantic comedies that we tend to do, and I also wanted to shake things up a bit and do some kind of period piece. Most of the things we do are pretty contemporary, and I thought it’d be great to have a little fun with a set and see what we could do with Selznick’s 1939 high-end office. It’s a great play, a fun look behind the scenes at the three guys arguing, fighting and struggling to come up with a movie script. It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood.”
New York City-based actors Jonathan Cantor (Selznick) and Jarel Davidow (Hecht) will share the stage with Holbritter, along with Glens Falls’ Barbara Miner (Miss Poppenghul).
“We have two talented actors in Jonathan and Jarel, and Barbara lives in Glens Falls and worked with me in a production of “All My Sons,’” said Rabine. “I really liked her, I’ve known her for years, and I was looking to hire somebody local for our Miss Poppenghul.”
Holbritter acts again
“Moonlight and Magnolias” will be Holbritter’s first acting job since he did “And Then There Were None” at The Theater Barn last summer. In a little over a year, however, he has directed two shows at Albany Civic Theater, two more at the Schenectady Civic Playhouse, and a special production of “8” at the Troy Music Hall.
'Love, Loss and What I Wore'
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Aug. 3; performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $23
MORE INFO: 877-7529 or www.curtaincalltheatre.com
“It’s funny,” he said, talking about the difference between acting and directing. “If I’m directing a show I always say to myself, ‘I’d like to be up there acting,’ and if I’m acting I say, ‘hey, I want to get behind the scenes and direct. They’re both fun, but I would never do both at the same time. I did a show up at Hubbard Hall once and Kevin McGuire did both. I was amazed at what he was able to do as a director and still be in the show. For me, it just seems like a little too much.”
Holbritter got interested in the theater as a high school student at Hoosic Valley.
“I fell in love with some of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals we did in high school, and then when I was 18 or 19 I went to Capital Rep in Albany and for the first time experienced a broader range of theater,” he said. “That’s when I learned that theater could be a variety of wonderful and different things. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of talented people in this theater community, and now I feel very lucky to be at the point where I can do great professional stuff up in Lake George all summer.”
‘Love, loss’ opens today
“Love, Loss and What I Wore,” a play by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, will open tonight at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham. Based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, the play was an off-Broadway hit in 2009 and stars Maryhelen Lounello, Pamela O’Connor, Elizabeth Pietrangelo, Barbara Richards and Amy Rosen. Directed by Carol Max, “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is presented in the form of 28 funny and poignant vignettes by five actresses about life’s journey and the clothes they wore along the way.