Chantilly: ‘Comedy with a Lot of Heart’

Chantilly: ‘Comedy with a Lot of Heart’

Chantilly High presents “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

The characters portrayed by Jack David and Caroline Barnes share a tender moment in the play.

The characters portrayed by Jack David and Caroline Barnes share a tender moment in the play. Photo Courtesy of Hannah Warnick

There’ll be laughs galore when Chantilly High presents the comedy, “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” It’s the school’s Cappies show and contains a cast and crew of 52.

The curtain rises Friday-Saturday, April 29-30, and Thursday-Friday, May 5-6, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at or $12 at the door.

“A famous radio personality is giving a speech in Ohio in 1939, but breaks his hip and is forced to stay with a family there until he gets better,” said Director Ed Monk. “It’s as if Oprah came to your house for a month – with all the disruption it would cause, plus her famous friends stopping by. It’s a very funny comedy with lots of silly characters.”

The students designed a two-story, 50-foot-wide, 16-foot-tall set for the inside of the family’s house. “It’s really cool,” said Monk. “It has six doors and lots of intricate detail. And it’s always fun to do a period show because the kids researched all the 1930s makeup and hairdos, including updos and tight curls. They’ve also enjoyed trying to dial a rotary phone.”

He said he’s blessed to have so much talent that he double-cast the show. “It’s a fun play about celebrity and egos that still applies today,” said Monk. “Some 74 years later, it’s all just as true. We think we’ve changed so much, but we really haven’t.”


From left: Leah Copeland, Maggie Shircliff, Adam LeKang and Caroline Barnes in a scene from Chantilly High’s “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

Junior Adam LeKang plays the radio star, Sheridan Whiteside. “He comes to the Stanleys’ mansion for dinner, but slips outside the door on a patch of ice and fractures his hip,” said LeKang. “So he’s in a wheelchair, recuperating, for a month.”

“He’s a rude person who doesn’t like people he doesn’t know,” continued LeKang. But he’s nice to his friends, although he doesn’t like admitting he has feelings for his friends. And he’s not afraid to express his thoughts about people, whether good or bad. And if things don’t go his way, he gets mad and yells.”

Having fun with his role, LeKang said, “I love Whiteside’s quick, rude humor because it’s so funny. He’s also a deep and complex character, and it’s definitely taken a lot of hard work for me to understand how he feels. It’s neat being a lead because I get to interact with every character in the cast and have a relationship with them.”

He said this show “has a lot of heart. The audience will really get to love the characters and the relationships between them. And it’s a smart plot; they won’t realize what’s going to happen until it does. But then they’ll understand why it did and all the pieces will fall together.”

Portraying Dr. Bradley is senior Hannah Warnick. “She’s quirky and scatterbrained and comes to take care of Whiteside after he falls,” said Warnick. “She’s very nervous and intimidated by him and doesn’t want to disappoint him. She’s written a book about her medical experiences and keeps trying to get him to read it, but he keeps avoiding it.”

Warnick said it’s different from her past roles because Bradley is “a little bit out there and is more timid than I am. But I love the cast, and it’s fun to come onstage, do a comedic bit, here and there, and then scurry away.”

She said the audience will like all the colorful characters. “It’s a hilarious show, the set is amazing and we’ve all been working hard,” said Warnick. “We also have a lot of cool props, plus interesting Christmas gifts that get delivered to Whiteside since the story happens at Christmastime. And there are interesting plot twists the audience won’t be expecting, so this show will keep people guessing what’s going to happen next.”

Junior Jack David plays Bert Jefferson, a small-town newspaperman who’s trying to get a play he wrote noticed. “His love interest, Maggie, thinks it’s great and tries to show it to Whiteside,” said David. “Bert’s an easygoing, happy-go-lucky, confident guy who knows what he’s doing and isn’t afraid to put himself out there and do whatever he needs to do to succeed.”

David likes his role because “Bert has a charm to him and can exaggerate certain parts of his personality. And his demeanor makes him more real and easy to relate to.”

He said the audience will appreciate the actors’ comedic timing and delivery of their lines and will know people like those characters in real life. “The set’s impressive and the story’s compelling,” added David. “And with so much going on at the same time, it keeps the audience engaged; there’s never a dull moment.”

Portraying Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s secretary, is senior Maggie Shircliff. “She’s very put-together and professional,” said Shircliff. “She cares deeply about Whiteside as a person and believes, deep down, he’s a good man. She’s also outgoing and friendly, and when she meets Bert, she starts having romantic thoughts about him and is determined to get him to marry her.”

“I love playing her,” continued Shircliff. “She and I are both grounded and care about the people around us. It’s fun to have the challenge of such a big part, plus playing out the relationship between Whiteside and Maggie, because Adam and I are such good friends.”

Overall, she said, “The show is fast-paced and witty and good for the whole family. Everyone will enjoy watching it because they’ll be able to tell the actors onstage are having fun.”