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Selznick for a day: YOU cast "Gone With the Wind, the Ballet"

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Okay. It's irresistible. Here's the deal.

You get to/have to produce "Gone With the Wind, the Ballet." You have an unlimited budget. It can be a one-act abstract ballet, or stretch over seven -- count 'em -- seven days and nights. You get to pick the company. You may invite guest stars.

CAST GONE WITH THE WIND, THE BALLET. Production details optional. (And remember, there are artistic directors and their staffs who read this board, so if any of what you write turns out to be see the stage, it will be your fault smile.gif )

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Jeny Ringer

Lucia Lacarra

or...my favourite for this:

Viviana Durante.

(Let's hear it for Passionate Outbursts!)

I am stuck, stuck, stuck for Rhett....maybe Irek Mukhamedov? It can't be someone callow...

No one BUT Peter Boal could do Ashley.

Melanie is sweet Julie Kent.

Prissy : I'm stuck. No one who's an African American woman dancing ballet now can be that gutless and dopey....it would have to be the acting job of the century.

You know very well Mark Morris would just love to wear a turban and do The Big Deal role....

This is a start....unfortunately, I am not a big GWTW aficionada....

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I like Juliet's choices, but as a Southerner for half my life (and former Atlantan), I feel obliged to contribute for myself (even though my mandatory adolescent-Southern-girl GWTW phase ended a good 20 years ago).

SCARLETT: I think Viviana Durante's a good choice, alternating with Sylvie Guillem.

RHETT: Edward Villella, about 30 years ago, of course.

ASHLEY: I'd go with Charles Askegaard. Blonde, beautiful, and way too good for Scarlett.

MELANIE: Julie Kent, hands down. The role she was born to play.

MAMMY AND PRISSY: I think these would both have to be "en travestie" roles, so I'd go with Mark Morris for Mammy as well (great casting there, Juliet). I can't come up with a good Prissy, though. Actually, I bet Donald Williams (DTH) would have a blast with the part.

RUNNING TIME: I thought the original four hours of the movie was a bit much, so I think we'll need to keep it to three max, or our weeknight audiences are gonna be deserting in droves at the intermission (because they have to get up early, not because they hate the ballet!).

MUSIC: I have no idea. Maybe Beethoven. Yes, definitely Beethoven.

[This message has been edited by The Bard's Ballerina (edited October 08, 2000).]

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Actually, if we could handle some Danes or French in there, how about Manuel Legris or Nicolas Le Riche for Rhett, Elisabeth Maurin or Gudrun Bojesen for Melanie. Maybe Kenneth Greve for Ashley?

I'd give Silja Schandorff a crack at Scarlett and Jenny Ringer one at Melanie if they could exchange hair biggrin.gif . I think Weese, Boal and Askegard are good choices as mentioned before as well!


Leigh Witchel - dae@panix.com

Personal Page and Dance Writing

Dance as Ever

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Originally posted by Leigh Witchel:

Actually, if we could handle some Danes or French in there, how about Manuel Legris or Nicolas Le Riche for Rhett, Elisabeth Maurin or Gudrun Bojesen for Melanie.  Maybe Kenneth Greve for Ashley?

Perhaps I've been too influenced by the movie (I've read the book too, but it was long ago), but I really have trouble imagining Legris as Rhett (I wonder what he would look like with a moustache and darker hair...) On the other hand, I agree about Le Riche (he already had a moustache in Petit's "Le Guepard", and it suited him quite well wink.gif )

What was Melanie supposed to look like? In my memory, she didn't look like Maurin, but except that I think that the personality of the character would suit her well.

About Ashley: I can't help remembering the guy who played that role in the movie (he didn't look bright at all in my opinion), and so trying to imagine Peter Boal in his role is a bit odd.

What about the smaller roles? Scarlett's parents, her sisters, her two previous husbands (not very flattering roles, I'm afraid), Aunt Pittypat...

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If we open up casting to the dead, I'd go for Pavlova and Mordkin as Scarlett and Rhett.

Estelle, most people at the time thought Leslie Howard was Absolutely Wrong for Ashley -- including, reportedly, Howard, who said, "I am neither young enough, nor beautiful enough, for Ashley." Ruined the movie for many, since the whole point of Ashley was that he was perfect: handsome, intelligent, athletic -- best horseman and best shot in the county -- and he just wanted to loll around and read poetry with Melanie. (In my family, Clark Gable was even a worst casting choice, as he "wasn't as gentleman." My aunt was a passionate supporter of Robert Montgomery for the part, but I think this was a minority opinion.)

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Estelle, I must say a few words in defense of Leslie Howard. I think he did his best under the circumstances -- he didn't like the role of Ashley, felt he was too old, and was basically forced into the movie at gunpoint. (Little did he know that The Petrified Forest, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Pygmalion would fade in memory while GWTW went on and on and on.)

Probably some of these roles should be just straight mime roles -- Scarlett's mother Ellen, who has a small but crucial role, should not dance, for example. She's too dignified to dance.

If Frederick Ashton were still with us he would be perfect casting for Aunt Pittypat. (I can just see him calling for his smelling salts!)

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If we are not confined by time, my nomination for Scarlett is Kshinskaya (sp.) She was certainly a survivor, and could get anything she wanted from men, and she wanted a lot! And I definitely see Scarlett doing lots of fouettes. What about Anton Dolin as Rhett? If we are doing cross-dressing and blackface, what about Gen Horiuchi as Prissy?

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Mary, we've been working together too long. I sent this email to Leigh earlier (because we have had several conversations about Kschessinska). I wasn't sure most people would be familiar with her, but since you've put her name in the ring, I'll sure second it!

Mr. Selznick, the search is over!!!

The only possibility for Scarlett is Kschessinska.

I'd have her do the 32 fouettes twice. Once at the barbecue, to the absolute horror of both Mama and Mammy.

And then, the second time, at the ball, wearing her widow's weeds.

Defiant, scheming, seductive, with a twinkle in her eye and a diamond on every spare patch of skin, Mathilde is our girl.

I'd also like to second Leigh's nomination of Kenneth Greve for Ashley. Six foot three, blond hair, blue eyes, very handsome, very charming, capable of doing anything, but....

On Rhett, maybe I'm being too literal, but he was HUGE. Tall, muscular. Not short and muscular. Mukhamedov would be too short, as would Villella. Think more along the lines of Nikolai Fadayachev smile.gif

[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited October 09, 2000).]

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I have to admit, the moment I heard Kschessinska mentioned I knew the search had ended.

Look no further, Mr. Selznick. From Tsarkoe Selo directly to Tara, here comes Mathilde!

"But Nicky!!! I didn't push Melanie down the stairs! She just walked in from of me as I was moving my arms in preparation for my solo, what was I to do?"


Leigh Witchel - dae@panix.com

Personal Page and Dance Writing

Dance as Ever

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Surely ya'all can't have forgotten one of the great dramatic ballerinas of the last century - Lynn Seymour? Perfect Scarlett. As for seeking perfection for Ashley - I recall the gasps of one fan at the stage door when the Royal Danes visited NY in the 60s - with reference to Peter Martins: "How can he bear to look at himself in the mirror when he shaves? It's like looking at a marble statue of Apollo." And it was, indeed.

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As to the smaller roles, I think Beriosova would be perfect for Scarlett's mother, in her Lady Elgar mode. No ballet should be without this lovely dancer. And for Scarlett's Pa, I think Alexander Grant would be wonderful. And Merle Park for Sue Ellen. I was trying to cast Belle Watling, and came up with Heather Watts, not quite classical, you know, but very kind-hearted. I see a very moving duet between her and Melanie when Belle gives Julie Kent the money for charity.

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