The Moss Hart/George Kaufman comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner opened last Friday night to uncontrollable laughter and thunderous applause...and there is still another weekend to see this hilarious offering directed by John Hayes on stage at the Herricks Community Center, 999 Herricks Road, New Hyde Park next weekend on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m. For tickets at $17 for adults and $12 for seniors and children, please call 742-1926.
The entire cast of the latest Herricks Community Players production on stage at the Herricks theater of The Man Who Came to Dinner.
The show centers around a famous writer and raconteur , Sheridan Whiteside, who agrees to have dinner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Stanley, a wealthy couple in a little town in Ohio, where he has been booked for a speaking engagement.. Going up the steps of their home he slips on a piece of ice and fractures his hip and is confined to their home for six weeks and while there causes havoc with everyone in and out of the home.
In the role of Whiteside, who plays the role from a wheelchair, talented director John Hayes has cast Michael Beaury. Beaury is a seasoned actor with a variety of talents. He was in the Herricks production of Rumors and Annie and he does a truly magnificent job with this very demanding role. He takes advantage of his many caustic lines by delivering them to perfection with exact timing.
Mr. Stanley is played by Bill Kane who will be remembered as Daddy Warbucks in Annie. He has played many other roles on the Herricks stage, but in this he is constantly in a state of agitation since Whiteside is driving him insane as he tries to maintain some kind of decorum in his home. Kane, under the talented hand of John Hayes is quickly becoming one of the best. His wife is played by Karla Osuna and her portrayal of a "stage struck" woman in Ohio, awed by the fact that the famous Whiteside in her home is priceless. Osuna was in the Herricks production of Anything Goes and is so magnificent on stage and she has a quality similar to Angela Lansbury.
The other folks in the house are the Stanley's daughter June, played so very well by Denise Martin who actually assumes the role of June - she is very natural. Her brother, John, is played by Thomas Moschetto, a young actor with a tremendous amount of experience and a wide range of talent from makeup to dancing. John Martin plays the role of Sandy who is the love interest of June Stanley and in fact is the "real life" husband of Denise Martin. They not only do well in real life, they look great on the stage together.
Harriet Stanley, played by Eileen Gambino, "floats" in and out of various scenes. She is Mr. Stanley's sister and is obviously a little on the "weird" side and she is wonderful. This is Gambino's first real role after being an integral chorus member in so many Herricks productions.
The Stanley's maid and butler, Sarah and John, are played by Cheryl Gluzband, a very experienced Herricks performer and wonderful in this role and by Hal Smilay, who is making his debut as an actor and he's a natural. Hopefully, it will not be his last role.
Maura Ryan, well-known for her versatile talent, plays Maggie Cutler the "long suffering" secretary of Whiteside. As usual she is perfect for the role. She has just the right sense of indignation mixed with sweetness announcing for the first time in her life she is in "love" with the local newspaperman Bert Jefferson, who has written a wonderful play. Jed Berman plays this role and is perfect in it. He is just pushy enough to wangle an interview with Whiteside and just naive enough to be dazzled by the infamous Lorraine Sheldon. He is very good.
Naturally, Whitestide has a nurse, Miss Preen, to care for him and that is none other than Barbara Tromba Murphy, who has created one of the funniest characters, as she always does. She is hysterical and her reactions to Whiteside and his curt mouth are priceless. Once again she makes her role memorable by her wacky portrayal. The doctor is another accomplished actor, T. C. Weiss, and he, too, assumes his own character, especially his laugh that would remind you of Keenan Wynn in Mary Poppins. They are both terrific and as usual add greatly to the show.
The key factors in this crazy show are the many cameo roles and how they are handled. First there is Annemarie Pistilli, who plays Lorraine Sheldon, the very "well-known" actress who comes rushing to Ohio because Whiteside is trying to break up the romance between Maggie Cutler and Bert Jefferson and almost does. Pistilli is an experienced actress and does a great job in this role, especially when she calls her maid and shows off her "true" colors. The next cameo is that of Hal Bloom. Bloom is one of the original founders of the Herricks Players, who takes on the role of Professor Metz who brings "cockroaches" to Whiteside as a Christmas gift. Bloom is wonderful and it is great to see him off the golf course and on the stage. The next cameo is that of Mark Charles Misilli who plays the role of Beverly Carlton, the flamboyant actor who sweeps in and out with much bravado. It is a great role and he does a super job with it. Last, but certainly by far not least, is Warren Shein, as Banjo. This is his first Herricks production, but he is a real pro and does a stupendous job with this role as Banjo, the totally nutty Hollywood producer. He brings the house down with his entrance and soft shoe number. He is absolutely marvelous.
Various supporting roles are played by Terri Cordero and Terry Mortorano; Stephen Greenstein, James Gambino, Don Fanning and they are all wonderful. Added to the mix are a group of young singers who do a nice job including: Terrena Christman, J J. Dehey, Michael Derby, Cara Fortunato, Rachel Gluzband, Michelle Martin and Daniel Schreider-Weiler.
After almost 30 years, director John Hayes has done it again. He is able to come up with hit after hit and The Man Who Came to Dinner is no exception. His producer wife Carol, always by his side, takes care of the many, many details and the money and together they always ensure audiences of a hit.
The folks who work behind the scenes are always an integral part of every show. Maureen Dunn who is the stage manager did a good job; the extremely talented Brian Dunn did all the lighting and Ed Connelly handles the sound board and makes sure that all the actors and actresses are properly set up with body microphones and helping him is his very competent wife,Rita. Bob Leslie, with an assist from Steve Szachaczm made sure that the sets were built to perfection and they are. The costumes were handled by Eleanor Leslie, who is a genius when it comes to coming up with just the right outfit for the entire cast. Nina Brugnoli, in charge of props, had to make sure that everyone had just the right props and in this show of lots of props it was a challenge. The ticket "masters" are Bernice Magalnick and Rhoda Zwicker and it is not an easy job trying to move people around the auditorium like chess men but they do it with perfection..
So don't miss this one...it's just the right tonic to lift the spirits, especially at this sad time, of the many people in the area. The profits from The Man Who Came to Dinner productions will be donated to the families of the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy.