September 19, 2019

Thought-Provoking, Comedy Classic, ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,’ Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse.

Standing beside her fiancé Dr. John Prentice (Marc D. Lyons), Joanna Drayton (Katelyn Nichols) announces the unexpected news of her engagement to her parents, Matt Drayton (Gordon Clapp) and his wife Christina (Kaia Monroe) in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner opens tonight at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

When the movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, began filming in March 1967, it was still illegal for interracial couples to marry in 14 states, mostly in the South. Changing attitudes in the country and the landmark case Loving v. Virginia coincided with the production of the movie and by the end of the year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. and Mrs. Loving, ruling that marriage is a fundamental human right and effectively ending all anti-miscegenation marriage laws in America.

The Ivoryton Playhouse presents an adaptation of the movie by Todd Kriedler. Set in San Francisco in 1967, the play focuses on Matt and Christina Drayton, a progressive couple whose daughter, Joanna arrives home unexpectedly with her fiancé, Dr. John Prentice, an African-American doctor 11 years her senior. They’re in love and they want the Draytons’ blessing for their marriage – today.

Blindsided by their daughter’s whirlwind romance and fearful for her future, Matt and Christina quickly come to realize the difference between reading about and supporting a mixed-race couple in your newspaper and welcoming one into your family. It’s not long before a multi-family clash of racial and generational difference erupts.  At the end of the day, will love prevail?

This thought-provoking, comedy classic is a witty and insightful reflection on two families confronted by their prejudices.

Taking on the iconic role of Matt Drayton, made famous by Spencer Tracy, is Gordon Clapp*, best known as the Emmy-winning, Tony-nominated actor who charmed audiences as Det. Greg Medavoy on NYPD Blue (1993) and as loudmouth instigator Dave Moss in the 2005 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).

Kaia Monroe*, who is an Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre at SCSU will play his wife, Christina and the rest of the cast include Richarda Abrams*, Cedric Cannon*, R. Bruce Connelly*, Krista Lucas, Marc D. Lyons, Kimberlee Monroe* and Katelyn Nichols.

The play is directed by Kathryn Markey, set design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Saylor.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner runs through May 12, 2019. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will be one Thursday matinee on April 25th.

Tickets are $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates and subscriptions are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Photographer – Jonathan Steele

  1. Gordon Clapp, Kaia Monroe and Marc D. Lyons
  2. Kaia Monroe and Gordon Clapp
  3. Marc D. Lyons, Katelyn Nichols, Gordon Clapp and Kaia Monroe
  4. Cedric Cannon and Kimberlee Monroe
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