Written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman The Man Who Came to Dinner was first produced on stage in 1939 and has been on many stages around the world with adaptations on radio, TV and even a feature film. Now this sensational award winning classic comedy has come to the stage at Actors Co-op in its 26th season and it shines bright.
The Stanley family home in small town middle America — Mesalia, Ohio — is in a frantic buzz. It is in the mid 1930s and world famous radio super star Sheridan Whiteside has graciously accepted an invitation to join the Stanley family for dinner. Unfortunately Sheridan Whiteside fell as he ascended the stairs to the family home. Apparently somehow a pebble had landed on the stairs and caused Whiteside to fall.
So as the show opens everyone is running around providing care for Whiteside. Finally, he emerges from the bedroom in a wheelchair. The demanding attitude of Whiteside immediately launches, peppered with wit, sarcasm and way more than just a little arrogance.
Immediately Sheridan Whiteside takes complete control over the Stanley home and all within it. The family, out of a sense guilt over Whiteside’s injury complies. The string of events, plots and sub plots rapidly develop. Whiteside fills the library with cockroaches and penguins and invites paroled convicts over for lunch
Yes it is outrageous and hilarious. Whiteside’s medical doctor continues to pester Whiteside to promote a book written by the good doctor. Then a local newspaper reporter, Bert Jefferson, shows up and gets the instant wrath of Whiteside. But Bert stands tall and gains the instant positive attraction of Whiteside’s secretary Maggie Cutler. Throughout Whiteside is in steady telephone conversation with the top entertainment industry leaders and super star actors of the day.
Sheridan Whiteside’s behavior would most likely be deplored for it is mostly deplorable, yet as presented in The Man Who Came to Dinner it becomes a steady source on unending laughter even as he engages in an evil plot to foreclose on the glowing love between the reporter and Whiteside’s secretary. Sensing the sudden arrival of the glamorous diva Lorraine Sheldon as an effort by Whiteside to destroy her relationship with Bert Jefferson, Maggie responds with a brilliant counter attack involving a British super star Beverly Carlton.
The chaos and conniving and thrusting and jabs keep building to a crescendo. The show is a wild ride simply bristling with wit and brilliant humor presented by a superb cast rendering a truly outstanding performance. But how does this wild ride and chaos ultimately resolve? Well now for that you can best find out by seeing the show and for that you will also be rewarded with a bit over two hours of great entertainment. You will even discover just how injured Sheridan Whiteside really is.
The Man Who Came to Dinner is at the Actor’s Co-op David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, California 90028 now through December 17th 2017. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Reservations and ticketing available by calling 323-462-8460 or online at The Actor’s Co-op
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For more interesting art and entertainment visit: www.ronirwin.net
Photos by John Diugolecki
Top photo: Greg Martin, Jean Kauffman and John Allee
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.