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Duluth resident to portray Margaret Mitchell in play

Special Photo. Duluth's Mandi Lee is portraying author Margaret Mitchell in a one-woman play showing at the Ansley Park Playhouse in Atlanta through Aug. 6

Special Photo. Duluth's Mandi Lee is portraying author Margaret Mitchell in a one-woman play showing at the Ansley Park Playhouse in Atlanta through Aug. 6

ATLANTA -- Duluth's Mandi Lee is portraying author Margaret Mitchell in a one-woman play showing at the Ansley Park Playhouse in Atlanta through Aug. 6 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of "Gone with the Wind."

"Mrs. John Marsh -- The World Knew her as Margaret Mitchell" tells the story of the reclusive author's life from her teenage years to her death and through the hoopla that surrounded the publication of her book.

However, when Melita Easters first cast Lee as Mitchell, she had no idea how close the story was to Lee.

"This is a dream role for (Lee). She always loved 'Gone With the Wind,'" said Lee's mother Judie Lee, adding that she remembers bottle feeding her daughter as the movie played in the background.

Four "Gone with the Wind" dolls Lee received on her first birthday stand as silent sentinels while Lee prepares to portray the author who created the memorable characters, according to a press release.

"I don't remember a time when 'Gone With the Wind' wasn't at least a part of my consciousness," Lee said. "We watched the movie a lot -- we had a VHS tape that my mom had recorded off of TV that we would watch occasionally."

Lee started to read the book when she was in fourth grade, but it proved to be too much for her. She picked the book back up when she was in eighth grade and fell in love with it all over again.

Easters said she thinks Lee's history with Mitchell gives her a leg up on stage and allows the actress to entrance her audience.

"Her ability to convey the complex personality of Margaret Mitchell is a treasure," Easters said.

Easters said the play has been successful so far, not only because of Lee, but because people want to learn more about the woman behind the pen.

"Most people, who grew up in the South, have seen the movie a few times and many people have read the book, and the play tells the story behind the book, behind the woman who wrote the book," Easters said. "And so, 'Gone With The Wind' is just a part of the fabric of Southern culture and the play is an interesting and funny accounting of what gave us that story."

For more information or to purchase tickets, which are $25, visit www.ansleyparkplayhouse.com.