PLYMOUTH, N.H.—Mayhem, mix-ups and a ruse to sabotage a wedding mark the high-spirited high jinks of The Drowsy Chaperone, presented by the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University April 25-29. The musical comedy won five Tony Awards in 2006, including Best Music and Best Book.
Performances are April 25-28 at 8 p.m., April 28 at 2 p.m. and April 29 at 4 p.m. in the Studio Theatre at the Silver Center.
The fun begins when a die-hard musical theatre fan (known only as The Man in The Chair) plays his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone, and the show magically bursts to life.
Suddenly, the man finds himself immersed in the glamorous, hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day, complete with thrills and surprises that take both the cast (literally) and the audience (metaphorically) soaring to the rafters.
A New York Times critic called The Drowsy Chaperone, “… a short, happy exercise in escapism. …”
Professor of Theatre Beth Cox directs the show, with music direction by Professor of Music Kathleen Arecchi. Justin McCarthy, adjunct faculty is the conductor; Kevin Hill of Auburndale, Mass. is the guest choreographer; Jill Hibbard of Plymouth is guest scenic director; Daniel Brunk from Farmington, Maine is the guest lighting designer and PSU’s resident costume designer is Danee Grillo.
The show is a “fast comic romp with lots of dancing, funny lyrics and fluff…a fun spoof of the 1920s,” according to Cox. She explains that in its early form this musical was a performance gift by friends given to Robert Martin and Janet Van De Graaf, an actual bride and groom, at a prenuptial party. The performance was expanded and now those are the names of a young couple in The Drowsy Chaperone who hope to marry.
Janet works for Mr. Feldzieg (similar to Ziegfield) as the star of Feldzieg’s Follies and has decided to quit in order to marry Robert Martin, a matinee and commercial idol. Mr. Feldzieg owes his investor a large sum of money and the “gentleman” investor sends two gangsters disguised as pastry chefs to intimidate him. The gangsters decide to help Feldzieg derail the wedding.
Janet’s chaperone always seems to have a cocktail in hand, even though it is Prohibition. Her “drowsiness” elicits much advice and little chaperoning. We also meet Adolpho, a Latin lothario; George, Robert’s best man; Kitty, a chorus girl in Feldzieg’s Follies; Mrs. Tottendale, owner of the mansion where the wedding is being held; Underling, Mrs. Tottendale’s long-suffering butler and Trix, an aviatrix flying to Rio.
Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors and $15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869.
Cast for the Drowsy Chaperone includes:
Man in Chair Paul Mroczka, professor of theatre
Robert Martin Andrew Freitas, BA Theatre Arts ’13, from Acushnet, Mass.
George Sam Tolley, BA Theatre Arts and BS Music Education ’13, from Weare, N.H.
Aldolpho Benedict Cesare, BA, Theatre Arts ’13, from Boxborough, Mass.
Mr. Feldzieg Greg Scherer, BA Theatre Arts and BA Music ’13, from Windham, N.H.
Underling Luke Meierdiercks, BA Theatre Arts ’13, from St. Johnsbury, Vt.
Gangster #1 Jason Faria, BA Theatre Arts ’14, from Hudson, Mass.
Gangster #2 Bradford Robinson, BS Music Education ’15, from Wakefield, Mass.
Drowsy Chaperone Laura Daigle, BA Theatre Arts and BS Music’14, Salem, N.H.
Janet Van de Graaf Alyssa Dumas, BA Theatre,’14, Manchester, N.H.
Mrs. Tottendale Danielle Aucoin, BA Theatre Arts ’14, Hudson, Mass.
Kitty Chelsea Merritt, BA Theatre Arts ’15, Plainfield, Conn.
Trix Samantha Bagdon, BA Theatre Arts ’13, Madbury, N.H.
The ensemble includes first-year Theatre Arts majors Emma Czaplinski ’15, Meriden, Conn.; Matthew Bouvier, Hudson, Mass.; Kayla Fernekees, Salem, N.H.; Andrew Kelly, Westminster, Mass. and Sam St. Jean, Goffstown, N.H.
General information about events at PSU is available online at ThisWeek@PSU, http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.