The Man Who Came to Dinner
By Tom Nissley
It was a real pleasure to visit Curtain Call’s production of Kauffman and Hart’s "The Man Who Came to Dinner", not the least because this 70-year-old play has a beautiful structure and is filled with reminders of both Broadway and Hollywood in the time just before World War II. Characters who are loosely based on real-life personalities (Alexander Woollcott, Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Harpo Marx) reflect an opulent era.
The plot involves an egomaniac radio celebrity who slipped and dislocated a hip while visiting an industrialist and his social-climber wife (think ‘Keeping Up Appearances’), and had to stay in - i.e. take over - their home for several weeks before Christmas. It’s a wonderfully wacky story, and great fun to watch.
Carole Claps directed an excellent cast, with magnificent feature cameos for Mickey Mallardi as Sheridan Whiteside, Morgan Wilson as Maggie, Bill Squier as Beverly Carelton, Dana DiCerto as Lorraine, and Jim Muthersbaugh as Banjo. Two actors are known in New Canaan. Liz Sharpe [seen in the Town Players’ "Fantasticks" in August, 2008] played the pivotal role of Ruth, and Will Santora [East School] displayed both persona and charm as a choirboy singing on Whiteside’s Christmas broadcast.
The show plays in the Dressing Room Theatre through January 25. Information and tickets at www.curtaincallinc.com
Tom Nissley for the Ridgelea Reports on Theatre