One of my favorite things is attending a play and the pre-theater dining that goes with it.
Last weekend, fellow Indy writer Shelly Zavala and I caught the opening of “Moonlight and Magnolias” at Newport Theater Arts Center on Cliff Drive.
This charming comedy about the true story of how the script for the cinematic masterpiece “Gone with the Wind” was rewritten is staged in a theater not far from some of Newport’s best restaurants on Coast Highway and Cannery Village.
We opted to accept an invite from Bluewater Grill, which has brought back its popular “Stuff the Lobster instead of the Bird” dinner through December: a whole Maine lobster stuffed with a special shrimp and buttery panko-crumb stuffing and served with choice of two sides and unlimited fresh sourdough bread (and a Bluewater bib) for just $34.95.
We opted for one stuffed lobster to share with several sides (including green rice and French fries), and also ordered appetizers, including the signature calamari ($11), as well as two signature martinis (under $10 each).
“I forgot how big their cocktails are,” said Christopher upon their arrival at the table. “This is one of the best values in
The lobster and calamari disappeared quickly, yet we still had room for dessert. We opted for key lime pie ($8) and chocolate lava cake ($8.50). Those too disappeared quickly.
We left Bluewater at 7:45 but arrived at the theater with time to spare.
“Moonlight and Magnolias” was a fun romp through Hollywood’s Golden Era. The play was set in producer David O. Selznick’s office. Selznick had just shut down production on the biggest movie in film history to date: “Gone With the Wind.” He fired director George Cukor because the pacing of the film was too slow, and pulled director Victor Fleming off of the final few days of “The Wizard of Oz” to helm “Gone With the Wind.” He also talked writer Ben Hecht into rewriting the script despite Hecht having never read the novel.
Selznick locked the three of them in his office, subsisting on a meager diet delivered by Selznick’s increasingly harried assistant, Miss Poppenghul, until the new script was completed.
That scenario sets the stage for an enthusiastic production delivered by four earnest actors (under the direction of Brian Page) who take the audience on a joyride through Hollywood’s heyday. Along the way we get tantalizing glimpses into the background of “Gone With the Wind,” tidbits on iconic actors and other notable film denizens, and an understanding of what Hollywood was like before auteur directors and independent production companies changed the face of Hollywood.
“Moonlight and Magnolias” runs through December 13 and is highly recommended. Visit NTACOnline.com for tickets.
For Bluewater Grill, visit BluewaterGrill.com.