THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER 

By George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (Kirkwood Theatre Guild)

The eight-play collaboration between George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart provided American theater, both professional and not, with certain crowd-pleasing comedies for almost 15 years. Today, only You Can't Take It with You receives regular production, but the pair's 1939 The Man Who Came to Dinner was, for 25 years, a staple of theaters big and little. In the beginning, its topicality (its titular protagonist modeled on an immensely popular critic and essayist, Alexander Woollcott, now mercifully forgotten, with appearances by Noel Coward and Harpo Marx knock-offs) provided both the sophisticated and the rubes an affectionate insider's look at some of the theater's most celebrated denizens. Later on, the play's wicked one-liners and uninhibited raillery provided the same sort of satisfaction that Neil Simon's plays now supply.

The Kirkwood Theatre Guild's revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner, which closed last weekend, was sprightly and amusing, with competent nonprofessionals in all parts and occasionally inspired performances, like Jerry Novack's Jimmy Durante-like Banjo and Tom Yager's foolish Dr. Bradley. Jason Weissenburger's impressive set could have stood a good deal more decoration, but Russell J. Bettlach's costumes handsomely evoked pre-World War II Midwestern middle-class life. A sold-out Kirkwood Community Theatre audience enjoyed the show hugely, and so did I.

Speaking of...

More by Harry Weber

  • Dance Close-up 2000: Alumni Celebration
  • Dance Close-up 2000: Alumni Celebration

    Washington University Performing Arts Department
    • Sep 20, 2000
  • Everything's Ducky
  • Everything's Ducky

    Book by Bill Russell and Jeffrey Hatcher; lyrics by Bill Russell; music by Henry Krieger (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis)
    • Sep 13, 2000
  • High Society
  • High Society

    Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Arthur Kopit; based on the film High Society and on the play and film The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry (Stages St. Louis)
    • Aug 2, 2000
  • More »

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

© 2016 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation