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The Man Who Came to Dinner: Cast Profiles

Wilbur Mauk—as "Whiteside"

Who is your character and how are you connecting to the role? 

My name is Wilbur Mauk; I am a Junior Theatre Arts major and I am playing the lead role of Sheridan Whiteside. This character is different than any of the other roles I have had before in that this is my first comedy in which I have a large role. A way I have connected with this character has been in my research of the man who the character was originally based off of, Alexander Woolcott. He was a man of great wit and tremendous pride. He always has to be the one with the last laugh and make a sarcastic snarky comment on every situation which he finds interesting. I wouldn't say I am very like this man however I do connect with him in ways I wasn't aware of before. I find the reason why he is so harsh on others around him is because he is defending himself as a person. He is hiding that he has feelings so that he can appear smart and in charge. He is very intricate and was definitely a challenge to portray. 

What are some of your favorite parts so far working with this script and cast?

The script is hilarious down to it's core! I love the history of how the playwrights found the inspiration to their play. Woolcott came uninvited to one of the playwright's house unannounced and terrorized the guests and bossed everyone around then left saying he had basically the worst time ever. The other playwright said that he was lucky Woolcott didn't break his leg while there which would of prolonged his stay and then the idea was born. Now the cast is just as enjoyable as the script. The people are hilarious and very fun to work with. I have immensely enjoyed working with this cast and getting to know each of them, which is hard to do with a cast of 23. This cast is filled with talented people who enjoy life, laughter, and theatre.

What is your favorite line from the play? 

"Well you have come to the right place. Dr. Sheridan Whiteside, broken hearts mended, brakes realigned, ... Hamburgers." 

Is there anything else you would like the audiences to know about you?

I am very grateful for this opportunity to do what I love. When you come to see the show, relax, laugh, and enjoy the life that God has given you. 

The Man Who Came To Dinner: Cast Profiles

Elisabeth Emhoff—as "Maggie Cutler"

Who is your character and how are you connecting to the role? 

For part of my senior project, I get to play Maggie Cutler, Whiteside's secretary and right-hand woman. To be honest, his life would pretty much fall apart without her organizational skills... Maggie is somewhat like me in personality, so it hasn't been too difficult to connect with her. I actually have some experience as a legal secretary and personal assistant, so I know what it's like to be doing a million things at once all for somebody else! 

What are some of your favorite parts so far working with this script and cast?

I love how sassy Maggie gets as the play progresses. She starts pretty professional, but she's able to stand up for herself when things start to go awry. There's so many great sarcastic comebacks between Whiteside and Maggie which is always fun. And as for the cast, well, they're some of my favorite people in the world. They're all so hilarious in their own way, and so encouraging as well. It's very common for people to congratulate one another for a good performance as they come off stage. 

What is your favorite line from the play?

Movie star Lorraine Sheldon and Maggie can't stand one another, and when we have a very civil but snarky conversation, she condescendingly asks me about a book that no one can put down it's so good, to which I reply "I put it down, right there".  

Is there anything else you would like the audiences to know about you? 

I think it's easy for characters like Maggie to become 2 dimensional. My hope is that Maggie changes throughout the play, just like a real person would, and that the audience would get to see her different sides: vulnerability, sassy, love-crazed, and straight-up furious!

The Man Who Came To Dinner: Cast Profiles

Rebekah Nason—as "Miss Preen"

Who is your character and how are you connecting to the role?

My character is Miss Preen, Mr. Whiteside’s nurse. It was actually very hard to figure her out at first. She’s not necessarily a major character—she doesn’t get a lot of stage time. But we learn a lot about Mr. Whiteside by how he and Miss Preen interact. It’s hard for me to act older (she’s in her 40s) but Mrs. Nolan gave me a direction that really helped. I realized that Miss Preen is a strong character, she doesn’t back down and she’s not afraid to speak her mind if the time is right. I just have to remember to be “big” (take the stage and not be afraid to be a little crazy) and I need to connect with the other characters on stage!

 

What are some of your favorite parts so far working with this script and cast?

One of my favorite (and least favorite) moments to work on in the script is when Miss Preen meets Banjo. It’s one of those moments that audiences are going to remember. It’s slightly terrifying for me because I have a tricky “stunt” (for lack of a better word). But it’s fun because it’s when I can let go and make Miss Preen really go crazy! My other favorite moment is at the end when Miss Preen tells Mr. Whiteside what she really thinks of him. She doesn’t hold back and I can just scream and get out all the pent up energy. I love the moment when she realizes she is screaming and pulls back for just a moment, then goes right back to screaming. It’s a lot of fun to see how big I can get that moment. 

What is your favorite line from the play? 

 “Mr. Whiteside, if Florence Nightingale had ever nursed you, she would have married Jack the Ripper instead of founding the Red Cross. Good day.”

Is there anything else you would like the audiences to know about you?

My grandfather played Dr. Bradley in 1959/60 for his senior year of high school! Anyway, I hope audiences enjoy the show. It’s one of those shows you leave quoting because it’s just so funny. It’s perfectly timed so that it can be a distraction from school and stress for an hour or two. I’ve loved being a part of this show. It’s definitely one of my favorites!