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High school stages classic comedy

Provided to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Rehearsing for the South Tahoe High School production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" are Evan Sarosik, left, who plays Sheridan Whiteside, and Melissa Weik, who portrays the actress Lorraine Sheldon.
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The comedy unfolds as South Tahoe High School presents this year’s advanced drama production, “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” The production plays at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday at the STHS Little Theater. Tickets are $6 general admission, $5 for seniors and students and will be available at the door. The play is recommended for ages 9 and up. For younger children, for a small donation, there will be movies available in the room off the lobby at the Saturday performance.

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley find their daily lives turned upside down when dinner guest, Sheridan Whiteside, becomes a long-term guest after he falls and injures himself at their home. Evan Sarosik plays the sarcastic and often pompous Whiteside, who is a famous lecturer and radio announcer. His very talented and tolerant secretary, Maggie Cutler, is played by Katie Killebrew, who makes the arrangements for Whiteside to work from the Stanley residence. This leads to much frustration for Mr. Stanley, who is portrayed by Sebastiani Romagnolo.

An assortment of Whiteside’s eccentric friends and acquaintances, who include everything from actresses to convicts, come to visit at the Stanley residence, leading to a variety of scenarios. The beautiful and somewhat self absorbed actress Lorraine Sheldon, portrayed by Melissa Weik, makes a grand entrance in Act 2. Famous actor, Beverly Carlton, is played by Ethan Niven. Banjo, whose character is based on Harpo Marx, is played by Josh Miller.



An additional cast of characters add to the classic comedy and are played by Jennifer Schmedes, Bri McWhorter, Jon Filipko, Patrick Reilly, Jesse Quick, Nick Smith, Justin Stanton, Brittney Collins, Ashley Rumble, Allie Arcuri, Korina Rosales, Kristen Dore, and Connor Sass.

“Plays like ‘The Man who Came to Dinner’, set in the 1930s, make it obvious that good actors and actresses have to do more than just memorize their lines. They have to study and understand the time period of the play. Things as basic as telephones and long distance phone calls were much different in that era,” said Liz Niven, director and high school drama teacher.




“Once again, I am working with a great group of kids who have spent long hours working on the various aspects of this production,” she said.

The set for the play was designed and constructed by Drake Niven, who has been building intricate sets for more than 10 years both at South Lake Tahoe and in Carson City, in addition to running his own construction company. Last year’s set for “Noises Off” which was constructed by Niven, would receive its own round of applause when it was rotated between acts.

“Having seen theater productions and their sets in New York, London, Los Angeles and Ashland, I can say that South Lake Tahoe is extremely fortunate to have a set designer and builder of Drake’s caliber,” said high school teacher Jeanne Payne.

Payne’s older daughter is working professionally in theater in Southern California, after participating in the high school program and graduating from UC Santa Barbara. Payne’s younger daughter, Sarah, is the assistant director of this production. The high school stage craft class assisted Niven in the construction of the set along with volunteers from his company.


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