A long … long … long …. time ago, Brian King performed in several plays at Pioneer Playhouse.
Did he mention it was a looooooooooong time ago?
He acted in “Taming of the Shrew,” “Wait Until Dark” and “The Great Sebastian’s.” He also directed “Wild Oats,” starring playhouse artistic director Holly Henson, “who rocked the house with laughs every night of the run.”
He also was directed by Robby Henson in “My Three Angels,” Robby’s first directing assignment at the Playhouse Playhouse.
“I recall that he wanted us to have French accents for the roles, and after much cast grumbling, we all did French accents; and we sounded darn good,” King noted. “It was a great choice by Robby. Dude has some of the best directorial instincts I’ve ever worked with.”
King’s directorial instincts will be showcased in Pioneer Playhouse’s upcoming production, “Don’t Cry For Me, Margaret Mitchell.” King said the title of the show is pun on the song “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Evita.”
“Unhappy with the screenplay, and weeks into shooting, producer David O. Selznick (Daniel Hall Kuhn) shuts down production of ‘Gone With The Wind,’ costing him thousands (of dollars) a day, in order to rewrite the screenplay,” King said of the show, which is set in the Hollywood offices of David O. Selznick about February 1939. “He snags director Victor Fleming (Eben French Mastin) off the shoot of “The Wizard of Oz,” hiring him to take over direction from George Cukor; then, pairs him with legendary script doctor Ben Hecht (Jon Kovach).
“Selznick sequesters himself along with Fleming and Hecht in his office, subsisting on peanuts and bananas, and demands that they accomplish the daunting task of penning a new screenplay in one week’s time.”
Or, he adds, “What happens when screen writer Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming are sequestered in producer David O. Selznick’s office, subsisting on peanuts and bananas, and have to come up with a new screenplay for ‘Gone With The Wind’ in a week’s time. Nothing funny about the urgency of the situation but the results are comedy gold.”
The fourth player in “DCF3M” is Selznick’s secretary, Miss Peabody (Noelia Antweiler).
King said the play focuses on creative survival.
“Or — ‘DCF3M’ is a comedic view of the grit and ego-driven determination of the players behind the glamour of a Hollywood movie,” he explained. “Or — What happens when iconic egos come together to write a screenplay for ‘Gone With The Wind’? Or — How much ego will you sacrifice to create something you may or may not believe in? Or — It’s a depiction of artistic creativity, where the challenge is its own reward.”
King indicated taking three larger-than-life cultural icons — with matching egos — and turing their serious situation into comedy has been a challenge. What he has liked as a director, he added, is “being able to observe real people in a crucible — that is, their bosses office — subsisting on a diet of peanuts, bananas and their own egos, and driven to create art in the form of a screenplay that is based on arguably the most popular novel of the 20th century, ‘Gone With The Wind,’ in one week’s time.”
Since his time at Pioneer Playhouse, King has shot a film with Charlie Sheen, worked with Faye Dunaway, “and spent the last few years in California with my amazing wife, Micki.”
“I’ve toured (more than) 175 cities in the musical ‘God’s Trying To Tell You Something,’ under the musical direction of Edwin Hawkins; and danced nightly with two of the originals members of the singing group The Temptations,” he explained.
“Currently, I’m the development director for Clarity Entertainment, a film company in Northern California. In early 2012, we begin shooting the feature “The Caregiver.”
King said he’s wanted to come back to Pioneer Playhouse for years.
“But this was the first summer I’ve been available,” he noted. “I contacted Holly Henson and she was kind enough to save a directing slot for me.”