2018-03-07 / Ludlow

Comedy returns to Ludlow with ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’

Nathan Lane performs in the Broadway comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner." COURTESY Nathan Lane performs in the Broadway comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner." LUDLOW — The Friends of Ludlow Auditorium (FOLA) will present the hit Broadway comedy play, "The Man Who Came to Dinner," at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 10 in the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium. The comedy stars Nathan Lane, Harriet Harris, and Jean Smart in the play's recent revival.

"The Man Who Came to Dinner," by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, is set in the small town of Mesalia, Ohio in the weeks leading to Christmas in the late 1930s. The exposition reveals that the famously outlandish New York City radio wit Sheridan Whiteside (“Sherry” to his friends) is invited to dine at the house of the well-to-do factory owner Ernest W. Stanley and his family. But before Whiteside can enter the house, he slips on a patch of ice outside the Stanleys' front door and injures his hip. Confined to the Stanleys' home, Whiteside is looked after by several professionals: Dr. Bradley, the absent-minded town physician, Miss Preen, his frantic nurse, and Maggie Cutler, his faithful secretary.

Confined to the house for a month, Sherry drives his hosts mad by viciously insulting them, monopolizing their house and staff, running up large phone bills, and receiving many bizarre guests, including paroled convicts. However, Sherry manages to befriend the Stanleys' children, June and Richard, as well as Mr. Stanley's eccentric older sister Harriet.

Kaufman and Hart wrote the play as a vehicle for their friend Alexander Woollcott. Kaufman and Hart had promised a vehicle for Woollcott but had been unable to find a plot that suited them until one day Woollcott showed up, unannounced, at Hart's Bucks County estate, and proceeded to take over the house. He slept in the master bedroom, terrorized Hart's staff, and generally acted like Sheridan Whiteside. On his way out he wrote in Hart's guest book, "This is to certify that I had one of the most unpleasant times I ever spent." Hart related the story to Kaufman soon afterwards. As they were both laughing about it, Hart remarked that he was lucky that Woollcott had not broken his leg and become stuck there. Kaufman looked at Hart and the idea was born, all according to a press release.

The play is free and open to everyone. Donations are appreciated. For information, call (802) 228-7239 or visit the FOLA web site at www.fola.us.

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