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Students bring comedy to the stage in latest show

November 8, 2013 : Liberty University News Service

'The Man Who Came to Dinner'

  • Nov. 8, 9, 15, 16, 21 Oct. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 10, 17 – 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit the Tower Theater website or call the Liberty University Box Office at (434) 582-SEAT (7328) during weekday business hours. On the night of a performance, call the Tower Box Office at (434) 582-2085.

Liberty University’s Department of Theatre Arts opens its latest show on the Tower Theater stage this weekend, “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” a classic three-act comedy by Moss Hart and George Kaufman. The show runs Nov. 8-21 with eight performances.

“There are no big philosophical questions being answered with this show, just a night of entertainment,” said Chris Nelson, assistant professor of theatre arts, who directs the show. “This play is a witty, farcical comedy, with quirky characters, and fun slap-stick action.”

The play is set in 1930s Ohio during Christmastime and centers around the character of Sheridan Whiteside, a radio celebrity of that time period. Whiteside is invited to a rich factory owner’s home for dinner but overstays his welcome — by six weeks — after injuring himself on the family’s icy doorstep.

What ensues during Whiteside’s stay is nothing short of a takeover as his behavior and sharp tongue impose on everyone in the home. In the midst of all the chaos, his secretary, Maggie, falls in love with a local newspaper reporter. Whiteside’s disapproval of and interference in this relationship increases the hilarity of the play.

The production has a cast of 25 and a crew of 12. Many new faces will be featured onstage alongside a few that audiences will recognize from past productions.

Gordon Lewanowicz leads the stellar cast with his portrayal of Whiteside. Lewanowicz has appeared in several Liberty shows, including the recent Alluvion Stage Company production of “Les Misérables.” Whitney Tatum, who plays Maggie, starred in “All My Sons” alongside Sam Van Fossen, who plays Mr. Stanley, the rich factory owner. Joel Ledbetter, known for his leading role in “Carousel” last spring, gives a zany performance as Banjo.