“The Man Who Came to Dinner” by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Directed by Bruce Kimmel.
It’s a HIT and a HOME RUN!!!
“The Man Who Came to Dinner” at the Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in NoHo is fun, fun, funny and a glorious addition to the Christmas theatre season.
Set in small town America, an eccentric New York radio celebrity with a blunt and often rude and offensive manner is invited to dine at the home of a wealthy businessman. Everyone is ever so excited he has come to their small town and wants a glimpse of this well-known personality.
L R Jim Beaver Susan Priver Photo Doug Engalla
Sheridan Whiteside (Jim Beaver) has slipped and fallen on a small piece of ice outside Ernest and Daisy Stanley’s (Doug Haverty and Laura Wolfe) home and has decided their home is the perfect place to recuperate. He has ordered the Stanleys to stay upstairs, not use their phone, and literally not have use of their home whatsoever until he recovers, which of course throws the entire household into a tizzy. The phone rings at all hours of the day and night, packages arrive with some unusual gifts, and the nurse, Miss Preen (Kay Cole), is busy answering to Whiteside’s every need, and having to put up with his insults, to boot. Whiteside’s insults are not limited to Miss Preen, however. He proceeds to offend everyone he comes in contact with. Maggie Cutler (Hartley Powers) is Whiteside’s personal secretary and knows all of his eccentricities. She has taken a liking to the local newspaper man, Bert Jefferson (Mark Stancato), who has a play he wants Whiteside to read. Of course, Whiteside isn’t too happy with Maggie’s infatuation and sets a plan to squash this relationship. Enter Lorraine Sheldon (Susan Priver), actress and international prima donna, who has a history of breaking up affairs. Whiteside lures her to the Stanley’s home under the guises of her starring in Bert’s play. Two of Whiteside’s friends show up. Beverly Carlton (Chris Whitfield), east coast upper crust, and Banjo (Barry Pearl), a Groucho-like character who is totally outlandish and hysterical. Hartley Powers, Susan Priver and Doug Haverty are amazing, with Jim Beaver, Chris Winfield, and the celebrated Barry Pearl and Kay Cole spectacular. I laughed myself silly with Chris Winfield’s Beverly Carlton, and you must rush to see Barry Pearl’s Banjo character.
L R Hartley Powers, Jim Beave,r Mark Stancato, Steve Shaw, Sal Valletta. Photo Doug Engalla
Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s script has quick repartee between characters, especially Sheridan Whiteside with prolonged monosyllabic insults to his hosts and their family, their staff, his staff, and everyone he comes into contact with. It’s hilarious and definitely defines who he is. Bruce Kimmel is an accomplished director, and his direction moves and guides the enormous cast skillfully. The aforementioned enormous cast is wonderful and gives each character definition and joy. They are great to watch with superb acting and leave you wanting more.
What a great evening!!! You must not miss this truly fun-filled night of theatre. Every performer is beautifully cast, and it’s the kind of show you will want to see again and again.
But hurry, this is a Christmas 2019 treat, loaded with memorable moments. I loved it, and I think you will too.
Have the merriest of Christmas’ and the happiest of holidays with joy for the New Year 2020. A new decade begins. See you next year.
Cast: Neil Angevine, Bita Arefnia, Nick Asaro, Jim Beaver, Michele Bernath, Anastasia Burnett, Fox Carney, Kay Cole, Cheryl Crosland, Lareen Faye, Michael Gabiano, Doug Haverty, Chihiro Kato, Momoka Kato, Christian Land, John Ledley, Sherry Michaels, Barry Pearl, Hartley Powers, Susan Priver, Steve Shaw, Marina Shtelen, Marc Stancato, Sal Valletta, Christopher Winfield, Laura Wolfe and Leslie Young. Alternates: Kathleen Delaney, Nick Santa Maria and Steven Stanley.
Director: Bruce Kimmel
Producer for the Group Rep: Doug Haverty
Set Design: Chris Winfield
Costume Design: Michael Mullen
Light Design: Douglas Gabrielle
Sound: Steve Shaw
Stage Manager: Jody Bardin
Assistant Director: Brianna Saranchock
Properties: Leslie Young
On-Line Marketing: Kristin Stancato
Photography/Videography: Doug Engalla
Public Relations: Nora Feldman
Graphic Design: Doug Haverty + Art & Soul Design
Lonny Chapman Theatre
10900 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Buy Tickets and Information: www.thegrouprep.com or (818) 763-5990
Show Times: December 6, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sunday Matinees at 2:00 pm.
Talkbacks after Sunday matinees December 15 and December 29.
Tickets: General Admission: $25; Students/Seniors with ID: $20; Groups 10+: $15
Running Time: Three Acts – Approximately two hours with three intermissions.