A classic comedy
Blue Mountain drama club to present ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’
Ahigh school theater group is set to test its sardonicism next weekend with a play that satirically introduces Hollywood’s principles to Suburbia’s. If “an injured friend is the bitterest of foes,” what is a prominent family to make of an even more prominent, vitriolic, egocentric and most importantly, injured, stranger?
The Blue Mountain High School Drama Club, under the direction of Michael Shoupe, will present “The Man Who Came to Dinner” at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. Nov. 18 at The James Romberger Auditorium at Blue Mountain High School, Orwigsburg. Tickets are $3 for students and seniors and $5 for adults, and can be bought at the door, Shoupe said.
The satire, based on the 1939 film written by Moss Hart and George Kaufman and set around Christmastime, “centers around Sheridan Whiteside, a grumpy radio personality, who breaks his hip on the front steps of an Ohio family’s home, the Stanleys. He makes their lives difficult as he inserts himself into every family situation,” Shoupe said. “Meanwhile, his secretary has fallen in love with a local newspaper reporter, so Whiteside does everything in his power to keep them apart — including enlisting the help of some of his eccentric Hollywood friends.”
The comedic cast will consist of Adam Beam, a junior, in the lead as envious, acerbic Sheridan Whiteside; Abigail Smith, a senior, as secretary Maggie Cutler; Aidan Carr, a junior, as newspaperman Bert Jefferson; CJ Fehr, a senior, and Sequoia Gawlik, a junior, as Mr. and Mrs. Stanley; and, as Whiteside’s Hollywood cronies, Raven Wesley, a junior, as Lorraine Sheldon, Johnathan Orozco, a junior, as Beverly Carlton, and Richard Joyce, a sophomore, as Banjo; and more.
The production staff includes Shoupe as the director and producer, assisted by student director Olivia Parulis. Matt Laubenstine will be working lights and sound. The freshly built sets were made by Steven Gillen’s construction class, as were “a few of the more significant props,” Shoupe said, adding “they really went above and beyond helping us get this production off the ground.”
Shoupe said that, with the 23 students in the cast, he wanted to do a show that allows for that many roles in order to “give as many students as possible the opportunity to perform, but it also had to be funny. … I like doing comedies. People come to the theater to have a good time, so comedies lend themselves well to that. The kids are diving into their roles with relish. That’s what’s fun about doing theater. At the end of it all, we’re one big family,” Shoupe said. “I just want the community to see what these kids can pull off. They’re an impressive group.”
Up next for Shoupe and the autumn Drama Club ensemble is a farce, “Moon Over Buffalo,” planned for next year. The spring musical, yet to be announced, will be presented on March 15-17, Shoupe said.
Members of the Blue Mountain High School Drama Club, from left, McKenna Wychunas as nurse Preen, Adam Beam as Mr. Whiteside, CJ Fehr as Mr. Stanley and Sequoia Gawlik as Mrs. Stanley, rehearse for their upcoming production of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” The show will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. Nov. 18 at the school’s James Romberger Auditorium.