Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood

George Bernard Shaw dines at MGM, March 29, 1933
Left to right: Bernard Shaw, Marion Davies, Louis B. Mayer, Clark Gable

Winner

Orange County Weekly’s Best Theater Performance of 2003: Carmen Thomas as Marion Davies in Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood

SYNOPSIS

On March 29, 1933, as part of a round-the-world tour he took with his wife, playwright and social reformer George Bernard Shaw visited Hollywood for the first and only time in his life. For the Shaws, Hollywood was a three-hour whirlwind which included a luncheon on the MGM lot with Clark Gable, Louis B. Mayer and William Randolph. The hostess was Marion Davies, Hearst’s young mistress who was a prominent film actress and producer. With reporters following Shaw's every step, the events of that day were well documented, and they are re-created in Mark Saltzman’s comedy Mr Shaw Goes to Hollywood.

The Shaws’ day started off absurdly enough. Flying in Hearst’s private plane, an aviation mishap caused an emergency landing on Malibu Beach. Hitch-hiking along the coast highway, the Shaws accepted a ride with a UCLA sophomore -- Shaw in the rumble seat.

The Shaws’ day started off absurdly enough. Flying in Hearst’s private plane, an aviation mishap caused an emergency landing on Malibu Beach. Hitch-hiking along the coast highway, the Shaws accepted a ride with a UCLA sophomore -- Shaw in the rumble seat. Meanwhile, at MGM, Marion Davies is determined to star in a film of Shaw’s hit play Pygmalion and will stop at nothing to weasel the rights from the playwright. Unknown to Davies, studio head LB Mayer has plans to make that very movie with Marion's rival, Norma Shearer as Eliza Doolittle. But Marion is fortunate that Mr Mayer’s attention is elsewhere, on the scandal surrounding his biggest male star, Clark Gable, whose secret affair with an MGM star is about to become public knowledge All this is seen through the eyes of our guide, Charlotte Shaw, a sensible, intellectual and socially aware woman, who finds herself an Alice in this strange Wonderland of scheming, greed and glamour.

Chicago Production, Greenhouse Theater, January 2014

CHICAGO THEATER REVIEW

Filled with humor and insight into the power and politics found during Hollywood's Golden Era, thi

CHICAGO STAGE STANDARD

Pure Hollywood delicious

CENTERSTAGE SHOW REVIEW (CHICAGO)

Will delight anyone with even a passing affection for the Golden Age of Hollywood…many great, subtle cinephile jokes.

WINDY CITY TIMES (CHICAGO)

Insider fun for those recalling when Hollywood was a workplace instead of a fantasyland.

SHERIDAN ROAD MAGAZINE (CHICAGO)

Playwright Mark Saltzman creates an intoxicating environment here...a fine, nostalgic romp with truthful emotional underpinnings

Laguna Playhouse — World Premiere, 2003

LA TIMES - Don Shirley

A vivacious, sprightly comedy...Expect no heady, long-winded Shavian arguments here. Mark Saltzman’s play is replete with wisecracks and fast-paced scenes.

BACKSTAGE WEST - Kristina Mannion

Thanks to author Mark Saltzman, in this comedy we get a taste of some of the clever banter that might have passed between George Bernard Shaw and his fellow guests as Shaw attempts to soak in the Hollywood lifestyle. Ultimately, with Shaw’s wry humor and satiric wit as its anchor, Saltzman’s script turns out to be an inventive and amusing romp that both celebrates and lightheartedly indicts Hollywood’s glitzy reputation.

ORANGE COUNTY (CA) REGISTER - Paul Hodgins

Vivid and wickedly funny... Saltzman’s puckish comic voice sparkles.

VIEW MAGAZINE (CA) - Joseph Sirota

A genuinely captivating, consistently entertaining play.

COASTLINE PILOT (CA) - Tom Titus

A remarkable and thoroughly entertaining comedy... one of those rare birds, a rich and robust fictionalization of an actual event – the visit by playwright George Bernard Shaw to the film capital in 1933.

THE INDEPENDENT SHAVIAN - (Journal of The Bernard Shaw Society)

...a theatrical cross between a cinematic madcap 30’s comedy and a Feydeau farce. Mr. Shaw was performed at the Laguna Playhouse, a tony section of Southern California, historically frequented by the very sort of swells that this play takes such pleasure in puncturing. But Mr. Shaw is also a celebration of Shaw’s great joy at being celebrated.