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CNY Playhouse serves uproarious ‘Man Who Came to Dinner’ at Shoppingtown

Maggie (Joleene DesRosiers Moody) accuses Whiteside (Jim Uva) of plotting against her in CNY Playhouse's "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

Maggie (Joleene DesRosiers Moody) accuses Whiteside (Jim Uva) of plotting against her in CNY Playhouse's "The Man Who Came to Dinner." Amelia Bemish

— The best, however, are Joleene DesRosiers Moody as Whiteside’s prim and proper secretary, Maggie Cutler, and Alexendra Gilman as glamorous, self-centered showgirl Lorraine Sheldon.

Moody’s Maggie simmers beneath her demure blue suit as her repressed sensuality is unleashed when she meets newspaperman Bert Jefferson, played by handsome Scott Pflanz. Gilman’s Lorraine sparkles in silver and diamonds as she dishes Broadway gossip before vengefully setting her sights on Bert. These two strikingly attractive actresses each display a formidable stage presence as well as a flair for humor.

Rounding out the cast are Cathy Greer-English, Josh Hintz, Hope Earley, Steve Rowlands, Colleen Deitrich, Daniel Lawless, Dorothy Booher, Judy Schmid, Chris Best, Phil Brady and Daryl Acevedo.

Doubling as set designer, Rowlands visually framed the play by constructing a spacious drawing room with royal purple walls decorated with gold fleur de lis. A Christmas tree appears in Act 2 to celebrate the season.

Meanwhile, Whiteside’s wheelchair looks like a real antique, and the similarly ancient candlestick telephone aptly evokes days gone by. Prop master Crystal Rowland and costumer Barbara Toman deserve credit for their fidelity to the 1930s.

On the other hand, a few of the allusions to that era’s luminaries may elude modern audiences. Everybody will recognize names such as Walt Disney and Howard Hughes, but only a handful will recall Anthony Eden, John L. Lewis and Hedy Lamarr.

Nevertheless, CNY Playhouse artistic director Dustin Czarny and company have mounted a marvelous holiday diversion. Audiences won’t soon forget this “Man Who Came to Dinner.”

“The Man Who Came to Dinner” continues at CNY Playhouse, near the Macy’s entrance at Shoppingtown Mall, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13, 14 and 15, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16; it concludes its run Dec. 20-23. Tickets cost $20 for the show only, or $34.95 for dinner and show at Friday and Saturday performances. The 6:30 p.m. dinners are catered by Cathy’s Corner Café; 885-8960; cnyplayhouse.com.

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