By Special to the Daily World
Enthusiastic audience response to “Mrs. John Marsh – The World Knew Her as Margaret Mitchell,” a one-woman play about the author written by Melita Easters, has prompted an extension at the Ansley Park Playhouse through July 31.
“Atlanta audiences love this play because they love anything about Margaret Mitchell and “Gone With the Wind,” especially during this 75th anniversary summer of the book’s publication,” said Ansley Park Playhouse owner John Gibson. “Between the positive press and the receptive audiences, we knew we had to extend the run.”
The highly entertaining play tells the story of the reclusive author’s life before and after she became a publishing sensation. It stars Kandace Christian, a Tennessee-based actress and former Miss Mississippi. The play includes an audiovisual component of rarely published photographs and newsreel footage from the movie’s Atlanta premiere.
Largely in Mitchell’s own words, the play is based on the author’s articles, the thousands of letters she wrote and the one hourlong 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.
The July show dates on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays include a number of “Talk Back” sessions which offer audiences the opportunity to interact with the actress and playwright, a feature which has been surprisingly popular, Gibson said. Among those attending earlier Talk Back sessions have been the author’s first cousin, senior citizens with fond memories of having known Margaret Mitchell and a Morehouse Medical School professor whose medical school scholarship was paid for by Mitchell.
“Audiences just love being able to share reminiscences of Margaret Mitchell and to ask questions,” Gibson said. “Melita has a vast knowledge of her subject and answers questions in an engaging and entertaining fashion.”
A former newspaper reporter and GPTV producer, Easters has been a political and community leader 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 nonprofit boards and committees.
The July run of the show includes two “Multi Generation” performances which offer the opportunity for a family outing with free admission for family members older than 80 and one child under 12 per ticketed adult or older sibling. “These family- friendly days will allow several generations to enjoy a performance which is likely to spark conversations and reminiscences within a family,” Easters said. “These dates also celebrate the grand storytelling tradition of the South and the fact that Margaret Mitchell honed her storytelling skills and learned about the Civil War on the laps of elderly relatives on Sunday afternoon visits.”
This anniversary summer production stars Kandace Christian, who was Miss Mississippi in 1992. She has a long list of stage credits in the Nashville 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 Gov. 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. The play has a website: http://www.mrsjohnmarsh.com.