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Hugh McMillan’s Kids Corner: ‘Man Who Came to Dinner’ is a feast for young actors

By Hugh McMillan

Contributing Writer

Gig Harbor High’s Drama team under the direction of Kristin Zetterstrom will present “The Man Who Came to Dinner” beginning Friday, Nov 15, through Saturday, Nov 23. Last week, I watched a rehearsal of the play and was delighted with the very professional level of the performance.

Moss Hart and George Kaufman set it at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley in a small town in Ohio in 1940. While on a speaking tour, opinionated, arrogant radio personality Sheridan Whiteside, played by GHHS senior Jackson Rigglesford, injures himself slipping on ice and becomes an unexpected houseguest for the Stanleys, a prominent area family. Whiteside makes brash comments and offers his unsolicited advice to family members. As a romance begins between Whiteside’s assistant, Maggie Cutler, played by senior Malejia Mamea, and a local reporter, Bert Jefferson, by senior Cameron Showlater, he insultingly interferes with that as well.

I was so impressed with Rigglesford’s performance as the disgusting Whiteside personality that I told him he was “the most obnoxious creature” I’d ever seen on stage, which drew a round of applause from cast and crew.. No higher compliment could be paid actor Rigglesford.

Sophomore Charlize Yamout, who plays Expressman 2 and understudy for Mrs. Dexter and McCutcheon, declared, “I love the sense of community with this production. People should see it because it’s an amazing comedy and so much work and time has gone into every part of it with an amazing cast and crew. This show is unique. It’s a big cast with lots of moving parts.

Playing the lead, Rigglesford felt “the best part of the show was watching underclassmen grow as actors and actresses. The show is hilarious and fun and there is never a dull moment.The dialect is out of this world. I’ve never been part of a show with such challenging, striking dialect.”

Senior Elsie Shaw who plays Professor Metz, “very much enjoyed being able to work with my brother, George, as my understudy. The show is jam packed with energy. You leave thinking ‘wow, they just did that!’ It’s wonderfully funny, filled with fun people, and best described as ‘organized chaos;’ we have to have solid timing.”

Wardrobe director Malia Burkhardt, sophomore, feels, “the show experience is meeting all the new people and making more memories with the veterans, the amazing cast, hardworking crew, and all of the love that goes into making a show. Costuming and acting is incredible. I have helped design costumes and worked with the actors to make sure they feel confident with what they wear.”

Playing Mrs. Stanley, sophomore Nora Poulton said, “The best part of any show at GHHS is the people around me, amazingly talented and wonderful people who cheer me up if I need it, lend a helping hand, or make me laugh until I cry! This show is packed full of hilarious, yet heart opening twists that are hard to explain unless you come see it! It is an honor to portray such a funny, light hearted role.”

As Sarah the cook, junior Olivia Schwab feels, “watching other actors dive into their characters has been the best part of this production for me. We all know each other really well. The characters are exuberant and very odd, which makes it very entertaining. The show is a blast to the past with fun costumes, characters, and a stunning set. It’s for all ages.”

Sophomore Molly Home plays Mrs. Dexter in, “my first year not being a newbie so I get to meet new freshmen and help them get used to our theatre program as I did last year! I have a pretty small role, so I have lots of time offstage spent on character development. I create a whole character, really get to know her more than any other character I’ve played!”

Stage Manager Bailey Floyd, “gets to organize everyone to the director’s design, awe inspiring. I love being the right hand man to everything because it involves as much knowledge and involvement as anything. This show is comedic organized chaos with a plot somehow based on romance. I highly recommend it. It’s a cleverly chaotic show. We have cockroaches, penguins, and a life-size sarcophagus.”

Playing Lorraine Sheldon, senior Eleanor Home loves, “opening night when we get to share our story with the audience for the first time. I don’t think we’ve ever done a show here that has a cast of such wonderfully unique characters. Every single character (and actor) in this show is memorable, absolutely hilarious, and will be somebody’s favorite part of the show.”

”Whether you were alive in the ‘40s or not this show has something for you,” declared sophomore Natalie Bollert, who plays Harriet Stanley. “It’s full of humor and has a great range of characters. My grandfather’s brother was in this play when he was in high school in the late ‘40s or early ‘50s. There are so many people working on this show to make it great. Everybody is so kind and helpful to everyone else.”

I was alive in the 40s and assure you, “this show has something for me.” For you, too!

The show runs Friday, Nov 15 - 7 pm; Sat, Nov 16 - 7 pm; Sun, Nov 17 - 2 pm matinee; Friday, Nov 22 - 7 pm; Sat, Nov 23 - 1 pm matinee; or Sat, Nov 23 - 7 pm. Run time: 2.5 hours, including two intermissions. Prices are: $10 Students/Seniors; $12 Adults, sold at the door.

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