Gone With The Wind

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Previewed 5 April 2008, Opened 22 April 2008, Closed 14 June 2008 at the New London Theatre in London

A major new stage musical adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind in London.

The cast for this production of Gone with teh Wind features Jill Paice as 'Scarlett O'Hara' and Darius Danesh (Darius Campbell) as 'Rhett Butler. Based on the novel written by Margaret Mitchell, book and lyrics by Margaret Martin, adapted by Trevor Nunn, music by Margaret Martin. Directed by Trevor Nunn with designs by John Napier, costumes by Andreane Neofitou, lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Paul Groothuis.

"Margaret Mitchell's novel ought in its long-awaited stage incarnation to be the most commercial production in all London, perhaps the whole world. This is, after all, a very strong and much-loved brand that we are talking about. And yet the fact is, it isn't at all commercial. Sir Trevor, as the play's director, has been ridiculously uncommercial - or to put it another way, self indulgent - and the last people he seemed to have in mind as he constructed this big, ugly unwieldly turkey were the poor devils he expected to part with cash to come to see it." The Sunday Telegraph

"It's hard to get worked up about Margaret Martin's musicalisation of Margaret Mitchell's magnificent romantic epic because it wholly fails to blow one away. It's less Gone With The Wind than Marooned On A Millpond. Not bad, just tedious. Martin frames the tale in the style pioneered by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Eighties for Nicholas Nickleby, with the narrative shared between several characters. But the story grinds to a halt whenever the music starts. In the handful of spirituals sung by the black characters, the piece fleetingly develops some soul. Other songs are hampered by gratingly awful lyrics. Martin gives the slavery issue a romanticised and risible politically correct airing, with the O'Hara's treating their slaves like family. Beyond that, it's not clear why she or director Trevor Nunn pursued this unnecessary exercise. Much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim from the film and none of the characters has been re-examined afresh... It's a cribbed, confined and, above all, pale imitation of the film: the burning of Atlanta is suggested by flames licking the Confederate flag, Bonnie falls off an invisible pony and Scarlett's wardrobe (in spite of the looted curtains) is meagre." The Mail on Sunday

Author Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind out of sheer boredom whilst convalescing at home in Atlanta following an ankle injury in 1926. Having exhausted the supply of reading material from her local library, the 26 year old born-and-bred Georgian decided to accept her husband's challenge of writing her own book. And a literary landmark was born. Three years and 1,000 pages later, the novel was virtually complete - save for the title and a missing first chapter though Mitchell downplayed the manuscript's merit, deeming it to be of little interest to anybody else and allowing no one but her husband to read it. Finally, in 1935 she was persuaded to allow the editor-in-chief of Macmillan, Harold Latham to take a look at. Although Mitchell wanted the manuscript to be returned, she was persuaded to sign a publishing contract for the book, and after six months of editing and fact-checking, Gone with the Wind was finally published in 1936 and over one million copies were sold within the first six months - the novel went to the top of the bestseller lists for two years and in 1937, Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Hollywood producer David O Selznick bought the film rights and the film, starring Clark Gable as 'Rhett Butler' and Vivian Leigh as 'Scarlett O'Hara', premiered in 1939 going on to win a then record-breaking 11 Oscars. Sadly on 11 August 1949, at the age of 48, Mitchell was hit by a car and fell into a coma. She died five days later. Although she only published one novel in her lifetime, to date it has sold more the 28 million copies and was the bestselling novel of the 20th century.

Margaret Martin, who wrote the book, music and lyrics for Gone with the Wind the Musical, earned a doctorate in public health from UCLA in community health science and a masters degree in both behavioural science/health education and in population and family health, also from UCLA's School of Public Health. Margaret Martin studied music theory at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. She is founder of the Harmony Project, a non-profit organisation based in Los Angeles that provides musical instruments and on-going tuition - a free music education to nearly 400 children from low-income LA-area families. Margaret Martin plans to establish Harmony Project programmes in inner cities throughout the country. Margaret Martin supported herself from the age of 15. As a single mother, she identified closely with the challenges faced by Gone with the Wind's young protagonist, Scarlett O'Hara. She also felt the filmed adaptation left considerable more within Margaret Mitchell's epic tale to be explored. Margaret Martin developed Gone with the Wind for the musical theatre on her own. She brought the project to Trevor Nunn after she had acquired the rights to the property from the Mitchell Trust. This is her first play.

Gone with the Wind the Musical in London at the New London Theatre previewed from 5 April 2008, opened on 22 April 2008 and closed on 14 June 2008