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June 12, 2019:

Scarlett Fever reviewed by Rob Stevens

Much has been written about producer David O. Selznick’s long and exhaustive search for an actress to play the coveted role of Scarlett O’Hara in his epic 1939 film Gone with the Wind. A 1980 TV movie The Scarlett O’Hara War depicted some of the actresses—Joan Crawford, Tallulah Bankhead, Carole Lombard, Paulette Goddard, Katharine Hepburn, Jean Arthur, Lucille Ball–who sought out and/or were tested for the role that eventually went to the British actress Vivien Leigh. Over 1400 women were seen for the role. John Wuchte has written, choreographed and directed Scarlett Fever about the famous search. His show incorporates a technique he developed and calls Tribal Acting—a hybrid of Viewpoints and Suzuki that incorporates live percussion. The percussion provides a heartbeat for the actors, accentuating mood and propelling the action forward. It’s a perfect fit for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and is a mesmerizing hour in the theatre as the movement, dance, drumbeats and dialogue combine to tell the Scarlett story.

Max Udell is the leading player as Selznick while Austin Gold plays his brother Myron, a talent agent. Olivia Cordell plays Selznick’s assistant Kay Brown who first brought the Margaret Mitchell book to his attention. Cassi Schiano, Talia Goodman and Sara Carpenter play three varied types of actresses determined to snare the role while Deja Brown and Joshua Rivas kibbitz from the sidelines as gossip columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper, respectively. Wuchte also joins Ken Jenkins, Gordon Wimpress and Shin-Wei Carrasco as the musicians who drive the action. If you like Hollywood history and are looking for something uniquely different to see during the Festival, Scarlett Fever might be your cure.


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