“The Man Who Came to Dinner”—Classic Comedy Comes to Coronado!
By Kristen Fogle
Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s “The Man Who Came to Dinner” dishes up lots of laughs at the Coronado Playhouse, featuring local favorite Phil Johnson, along with 21 other talented cast members.
With so many persons populating the stage so often, one would think that “Man” would amass too many plot points for your average audience, however, “Man” is delightfully simple: Upon accepting a dinner invitation to the Stanley family’s home in Ohio, radio personality Sheridan Whiteside has suffered an accident that has rendered him to a wheelchair—and consequently made Whiteside a “prisoner “inside the Stanley household. (Really though, with a long list of demands, an outrageous entourage, and a blasphemous temper, Whiteside is the one holding everyone else hostage!) When a journalist (and budding playwright) comes to interview him and holds Whiteside’s right-hand-girl Maggie captive, Whiteside invites a conniving, part-hungry actress into the mix to separate the pair.
Ruff Yeager, who has directed all around town—for Playwrights Project, Scripps Ranch, Compass, Diversionary—tackles this lengthy comedy (three hours with two intermissions) expertly. Yeager makes a memorable appearance in the show as well and blends well with other notable cast members, including Phil Johnson as Sheridan Whiteside (a talent, he has, for wielding the perfectly written insult), Kim Straussburger as the secretary-to-Sheridan-to-be-reckoned with Maggie Cutler, and the dynamic, incredibly talented Frances Anita Rivera who played self obsession skillfully and humorously as actress Loraine Sheldon.
A first timer to Coronado Playhouse, I’ve heard mixed reviews regarding production value at this venue; “The Man Who Came to Dinner” is of top quality, however. The mint and salmon colored set is delightfully period appropriate, the blocking well rehearsed and entirely logical, and the audience seemed enraptured—chucking and clapping their way through the entire time. Come for a brunch and take in the gorgeous bay, which the Playhouse has unobstructed views of. I adamantly recommend the current production, but also stay tuned for the next: Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is up next August 31-Septmber 23.
“The Man Who Came to Dinner”
1835 Strand Way, Coronado