Laurel Mill Playhouse The Man Who Came To DinnerBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 7th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Laurel Mill Playhouse
Laurel Mill Playhouse, Laurel, MD
Through February 27th
2:45 with two intermissions
$13/$10 Seniors, students and military
Reviewed Opening Night, February 4th, 2011
The Man Who Came to Dinner is a play in three acts by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Sheridan Whiteside, writer, producer, critic, egomaniac, and all around pain in the rear, consents to have dinner with a typical American family when a fall causes him to become their guest for longer than expected. The wheelchair bound Whiteside attempts to function as best as he can while driving his staff, reporters, not to mention Mr. Stanley, to the brink of distraction. The play features many references to movie and radio personalities of the 30’s, which unfortunately are mostly missed or misunderstood by audience members.
The show worked pretty well in the small space at Laurel Mill Playhouse. The set of the Stanley’s living room by Designers Michael Hartsfield and Mark Allen was pretty well planned. Most of the props and set pieces were appropriate to the play’s period, although the modern wheelchair broke the spell, as were Kim Delk’s costumes.
Director Michael V. Hartsfield had a huge job on his hands with a cast of 25 actors playing 36 roles. The other spell breaker was the pacing, which at times was tedious. Rob Allen as Sheridan Whiteside was a larger-than-life character. Allen was appropriately booming the way he ordered everyone around. However Allen appeared at times to still be thinking about his lines and his delays contributed to the sluggish pace of the play. Whiteside is referred several times within the play as a gifted speaker, but Allen’s stumbling through the lines in several scenes was distracting.
The Stanley family (Dan Stacier as the frustrated Mr. Stanley and Maureen C. Rogers as his long-suffering wife), was sterotypical, yet the children (Daniel Schall and Dana Medford) had their own problems which were exacerbated by Whiteside’s avice.
Other members of the cast were quite enjoyable, despite their roles being very small. For instance, Dr. Bradley, played by Ed Higgins was hysterical, with the correct comedic pacing and was over the top for most of the show, a real joy to experience. Another fun experience was watching Lorraine Sheldon, a Hollywood star, played by Barbara Gasper, and Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s personal assistant, played by Rosalie Daelmans, circle each other like cats ready to fight. Gasper exuded charm as she seduced poor Bert Jefferson (Joe Mariano). Mariano was human and unable to resist the flirtations of the wiley Sheldon. Mariano’s upright character happily triumphed in the end. As Maggie Cutler, Daelmans knew how to handle Whiteside and his temper. She also reacted well to what was going on around her and to the situation. Like Gasper, Daelmans could strike back and also had her own schemes to getting her man back from the clutches of the Hollywood star.
Other entertaining performers included Frank Mancino as the wily and excited Banjo, Becca Burton as underappreciated nurse Miss Preen, and Tom Schneider as Beverly Calton, Maggie’s partner-in-crime while she was plotting to get rid of Lorraine.
LMP’s The Man Who Came To Dinner was a funny production, with a few rough spots with lines that should improve as the show continues its four week run.
Photo by John Cholod
- Mrs. Ernest W. Stanley: Maureen C. Rogers
- Miss Preen: Becca Burton
- Richar Stanley: Daniel Schall
- June Stanley: Dana Medford
- John: Marquis Evans
- Joan (John’s understudy): Julie Rogers (2/18 and 2/19)
- Sarah: Penny Martin
- Mrs. Dexter: Stephanie Carr
- Mrs. McCutcheon: Hillary Mazer
- Mr. Ernest Stanley: Dan Staicer
- Maggie Cutler: Rosalie Daelemans
- Dr. Bradley: Ed Higgins
- Sheridan Whiteside: Rob Allen
- Harriet Stanley: Marky Markowitz
- Bert Jefferson: Joe Mariano
- Professor Metz: Marilyn Ransom
- Michaelson (Convict 1): Bernie Noeller
- Henderson (Convict 2): Calvin DaSilva
- Convict 3: Morgan Delk
- Mr. Baker: Frank Mancino
- Expressman 1: Ali Vaughan-Nichols
- Lorraine Sheldon: Barbara Gasper
- Sandy: Calvin DaSilva
- Beverly Carlton: Tom Schneider
- Westcott: Hugh Downey
- Radio Technician: Lisa Wolfson
- Choir 1: Morgan Delk
- Choir 2: Ali Vaughan-Nichols
- Choir 3: Julie Rogers
- Choir 4: Hillary Mazer
- Choir 5: Marilyn Ransom
- Choir 6: Stephanie Carr
- Banjo: Frank Mancino
- Deputy 1: Calvin DaSilva
- Deputy 2: Morgan Delk
- A Plainclothesman: Bernie Noeller
- Expressman 2: Hugh Downey
- Director: Michael V. Hartsfield
- Producer: Maureen C. Rogers
- Stage Manager: Janet Olsen
- Light and Sound Operator: Jeanette Brown, Diana Simmons
- Set Design: Michael Hartsfield, Mark Allen
- Light/Sound Design: Michael Hartsfield
- Set Construction: Michael Harrtsfield, James Raymond
- Sarcophagus Construction: Calvin DaSilva and Joe DaSilva
- Set Painting/Set Dressing: Michael Hartsfield
- Costumes: Kim Delk, assisted by Maureen Rogers & Cast
- Hair/Make-up: Cast
- Properties: Michael Hartsfield, Janet Olsen, Tom Schneider, Cast
- Wheelchair and Sarcophagus: 2nd Star Productions and Rosalie Daelmans
- Christmas Tree: Penny Martin
- Poster/Program/Publicity: Maureen Rogers
- Head Shot Photos: Brian Binney
- Box Office Reservations & Concessions: Ray Black, Anne Marie Field, Maureen Rogers, Deian & Larry Simmons
- Webmaster: John Cholod
Disclaimer: Laurel Mill Playhouse provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6162.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.