A hat contest on Sunday afternoon and “Talk Back” sessions with the author and actress Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday are amongst the events during the last week of the Ansley Park Playhouse run of Mrs. John Marsh – The World Knew Her as Margaret Mitchell.
The highly entertaining play stars Kandace Christian, a former Miss Mississippi, and tells the story of the reclusive author’s life before and after she became a publishing sensation. The play continues thru June 19 and includes an audio visual component of rarely published photographs and newsreel footage from the movie’s Atlanta premiere.
“Hat contests during matinee performances seemed perfect for a play about Margaret Mitchell,” said Melita Easters, playwright and producer. “She was frequently photographed in hats and they were an important part of any woman’s closet for her generation. And, who can forget the hat Scarlett wore to the Twelve Oaks barbecue in the movie’s opening scenes or the green velvet and feathered number Rhett smuggled through blockades for Scarlett during the war. Our actress wears several vintage hats during the play.”
Easters said she was inspired to add extra “Talk Back” sessions to the play’s run after giving speeches to residents at Lenbrook and Canterbury Court and finding many residents had attended the premiere or Junior League ball during 1949. “So many residents had met Margaret Mitchell or had special memories associated with the book or movie that I wanted a forum for the rest of us to learn from and share their experiences,” she said. “When I mentioned Margaret Mitchell’s experience selling war bonds or working as a Red Cross volunteer during World War II, many heads nodded with acknowledgement of that particular shared experience.”
Talk back sessions have already included reminiscences shared by several women who knew Margaret Mitchell, including her first cousin, Ansley Park Resident Lillian Deakins Wyant, who shared with the audience her memories of World War II evenings at the Piedmont Driving Club with RAF officers in Georgia for training exercises being treated to dinner by her famous cousin.
“We have someone at every performance it seems who has personal memories of Mitchell or her Family,” Easters said. “Audiences love hearing about those connections.”
Further, Easters said, there are many amusing anecdotes about Mitchell and the book which simply did not fit the format of the play which are perfect for sharing during a Talk Back session. In fact, she says Talk Back audiences will be surprised to learn which prominent Atlantan took great pride in passing out “autographed” copies of Gone With the Wind, fresh from the pen of his loyal secretary, long after the diminutive author flatly refused to sign any more copies.
Largely in Mitchell’s own words, the play is based on the author’s articles, the thousands of letters she wrote and the one hour long radio interview she gave in 1936 as edited and organized by Melita Easters. Additionally, Easters incorporates her research of literary sources and biographies to construct an engaging and historically accurate picture of Mitchell’s life.
A former newspaper reporter and GPTV producer, Easters has been a political and community activist in Atlanta for more than 30 years, including service as founding chair of Georgia’s WIN List, a political action committee to elect more women to office in Georgia. She has served on and chaired numerous non-profit boards and committees.
The play stars Kandace Christian, a former Miss Mississippi. She has a long list of stage credits in the Nashville, Tennessee area and has twice won recognition as Regional Best Actress for her work. She is featured as a vocalist on several Disney albums. Director for the production is Johnny Peppers, a Nashville based producer, director, actor and entrepreneur. Dramaturge for the production is Jaz Dorsey, who possesses a long theatrical resume and is the grandson of former Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey.
To reserve seats, call the theatre at 404-875-1193 or use this link to the APP reservations page: http://www.ansleyparkplayhouse.com/mmreservations.html
Remaining show dates and special events are as follows:
Wednesday June15 – 2 p.m. – Talk Back: author & actress will speak/answer questions following play
Thursday June 16 – 8 p.m. – Talk Back: author & actress will speak/answer questions following play
Friday June 17 – 8 p.m. — Talk Back: author & actress will speak/answer questions following play
Saturday June 18 – 8 p.m. — Actress Kandace Christian will sing with the pianist at La Pietra Cucina across the lobby immediately following the play
Sunday June 19 – 2 p.m. — Hat day with prizes awarded for best hats worn to the play and Talk Back: author & actress will speak/answer questions following play
ANSLEY PARK PLAYHOUSE
Atlanta’s Uptown Theatre
1545 Peachtree Street, Atlanta GA 30309