When a man puts on his favorite 1928 Broadway album, the musical comes to life in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a “love letter” to musical theater of the Jazz Age.
With a couple in the musical about to get married, a Latin lover, a “drowsy” chaperone, gangsters, and a bumbling best man, the “Man in Chair” as he is known, a Broadway aficionado, can't help but offer commentary throughout the show while its madcap characters take over his apartment.
The Mira Costa High School Drama/Tech Department's production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” opens Friday, April 26, and runs through Saturday, May 4.
In the man in chair's favorite musical, Janet Van de Graaff is the star of Feldzieg's Follies and is on the eve of her wedding day to leading man Robert Martin, but she's unsure if she wants to commit to marriage because of her successful career as showgirl.
Senior Rachel Langetieg said the challenge of playing Janet is stamina and vocal strength.
“She has a lot of numbers where she’s belting her face off basically and she’s also dancing at the same time,” Langetieg said “So keeping up that stamina, training my body to fulfill this role ... in a good and professional way, was very hard. It took a lot of time and a lot of training.”
Producer Mr. Feldzieg hires the “Latin lover” Aldolpho to seduce Janet, in an effort to break up her wedding, so she can stay in his successful shows. Aldolpho is “very conceited and he all the stereotypical traits that a Latin lover would,”' according to senior Carson Billingsley.
“I’ve never been thrown into a part like Aldolpho and a lot of it is letting loose and being able to make a fool of yourself on stage,” Billingsley said. “I consider myself sometimes like a serious person in terms of academics and other things I do at this school and it has been really fun to kind of discover myself, discover what I can do in front of people. I think that me being allowed to play this role is what theater provides for not only the performers but the audience, letting yourself get lost win a character or story.”
Director Cary Jordahl said he has wanted to produce “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which won five Tony Awards out of 13 nominations in 2006, for years, but the musical doesn't allow expansion of the ensembles. But Jordahl said with a new drama teacher adding opportunities for students and the possibility of a third show this year, he said he felt it was time.
“When you’re in a high school setting, part of the mission is to provide as many opportunities as you can and there’s really no smart way to add to the ensemble,” Jordahl said. “Where we usually go 45 people in the show, we’re at 35 in this show. It's significant because there’s 10 students that are not going to get the experience that they would normally have.”
Performance dates for “The Drowsy Chaperone” are Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m.; Friday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, May 4, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
The Mira Costa auditorium is located at 1401 Artesia Blvd. in Manhattan Beach.
For ticket information, visit miracostadramaboosters.org.