Driftwood Players

"The Man Who Came To Dinner" Sept.-Oct. 1981

By George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart
 Directed by Val Pearson & Gloria Ingram

Bill Davis: (Sheridan Whiteside) Bob Anderson: (Mr. Stanley) Sue Rahi: (Mrs. Stanley) Julie Lawr: (June Stanley) Rich Lovgren: (Richard Stanley)

Dorothy Willis: (Mrs. Dexter) Middie Johnson: (Mrs. McCutcheon) Sue Rahi: (Mrs. Stanley) Bob Anderson: (Mr. Stanley) Hilary Richrod: (Sarah) Ken McDonald: (John)

Gary Morean: (Bert Jefferson) Chuck Elwell: (Dr. Bradley) Bill Davis: (Sheridan Whiteside) Jay Johson: (Luncheon Guest) Greg Veatch: (Luncheon Guest) Alan Richrod: (Radio Technician) Nina Morean: (Maggie Cutler)

Ernie Ingram: (Beverly Carleton) Nina Morean: (Maggie Cutler)

Tony Daniewicz: (Banjo) Kathy Beil: (Miss Preen) Bill Davis: (Sheridan Whiteside)

Julie Lawr: (June Stanley) Rich Lovgren: (Richard Stanley)

Bill Davis: (Sheridan Whiteside) John Michalovskis: (Sandy) Julie Lawr: (June Stanley)


Nina Morean: (Maggie Cutler) Gary Morean: (Bert Jefferson)

Pictures by Jim Bates

From The Daily World Wednesday, September 23, 1981

Newcomers shine in Driftwood's opening play of the new season

World Arts Editor

    One of the most remarkable, and most encouraging, aspects of the production that opened the 1981-82 theater season for the Driftwood Players Saturday is the appearance of no fewer than 10 newcomers to the local stage, all of whom turn in creditable performances.

    They and a dozen more experienced local players, succeed in measuring up to the masterful portrayal by Bill Davis of Sheridan Whiteside, "The Man Who Came to Dinner." He is a dictatorial, acid-tongue, unscrupulous radio talk-show celebrity of the 1930's, a character said to have been based by playwrights Kaufman & Hart on writer Alexander Woolcott.

    The comedy has one of the largest cast ever assembled for a Driftwood production, and only two directors as skilled as Val Pearson and Gloria Ingram could have kept the somewhat talky play moving and the laughs coming all through its four long scenes.

    The fun starts when Whiteside slips on the icy steps of a home in a small Iowa town, apparently breaking a leg and thus necessitating a stay of several weeks -- during which he drives his host mad with a constant procession of renowned but weird friends and even weirder get-well gifts ranging from a grate of penguins to an Egyptian sarcophagus.

    Complications multiply when his beautiful, efficient and unflappable secretary, Maggie Cutler, falls in love with a local newspaperman. This engaging couple is played by Nina Ingram Morean and Gary Morean, whose debut on the Driftwood stage is an occasion for rejoicing. Particularly amusing is "Maggie's" scene with her father, Driftwood stalwart Ernie Ingram, who milks the maximum in merriment from the role of Beverly Carleton, a hammy British actor.

    Marina Zabiaka gives just the right touch of cloying insincerity, selfishness and overblown dramatics to the role of Lorraine Sheldon, a glamorous movie actress whose road to stardom has led through a lot of bedrooms.

    Her designs on the newspaperman are foiled by the timely arrival of the bombastic and outrageous Banjo, played by Tony Daniewicz -- who directed the Driftwood Players' first production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" in 1967.

    Sue Rahi is convincing as Mrs. Stanley, the status-conscious and fluttery hostess; Bob Anderson, in his first stage appearance, was highly effective as the unwilling host, especially in the scene where he finally revolted against Whiteside's high-handed ways. Jan Wolfe made an outstandingly funny creepy character out of the Stanley's mysterious sister. Her scenes were some of the best in the play.

    Kathy Beil, a newcomer, comically played the put-upon Miss Preen, the nurse whose unlucky star led her to the irascible Mr. Whiteside. Ken McDonald and Hilary Richrod made real people, not stereotypes, of the butler and cook. Hilary is a new arrival from Astoria theater with her husband Alan, who played double roles as the eccentric Prof. Metz and a radio technician.

    Chuck Elwell got a lot of comic mileage out of the inept Dr. Bradley, who treated the great man; Rich Lovgren and Julie Lawr added their bits to the confusion as the discontented son and daughter of the host family, and John Michalovskis was on stage briefly but effectively as the daughter's labor-union organizer sweetheart.

    Other bits of comedy were added by Dorothy Willis and Middie Johnson, as matrons overwhelmed by Whiteside; hard-eyed Jay Johnson and Greg Veatch, as visiting murderers, and Christmas choir boys Paul Mason, Jon Hauge, Kyle Blumberg, Mitch McMillan, Chris Johnson and Dean Morgan.

    That takes care of the cast, but also due for plaudits are the people who produced the fine examples of late 1930s costumes, pre-World War II hairdos and makeup styles -- and talked several male cast members into shaving their beards and cutting their hair for the proper vintage look.

    Those people include Elsie Reynolds and Betty Sterling, costumes; Mae Brooke, and Shirley Fogde, Toby Anderson and Bobbee Downs, makeup and hairstyling; Bill Davis, who designed a beautifully-convincing 1930s upper-class living room, and Nancy Arnold, who was in charge of constructing it; stage manager Dorcas Richardson, technical director Michael Sturm, and others.

    Altogether, the comedy is a creditable effort that will show on Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 17. Tickets are on sale at Rexall Drug Stores in Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Montesano.

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