The Drowsy Chaperone: anything but a snooze

Paige Hopkins, Staff Writer

“That’s just what the show is: fun,” proclaims the character known only as “Man in Chair” during the Patriot Players’ production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” And he’s exactly right. From impressive dance sequences, to pastry puns, to eye-catching costumes, to spit-takes and some outlandish accents, “The Drowsy Chaperone” has it all.
The play pays homage to 1920s and 1930s musicals by bringing a musical to life in the play, essentially creating a musical within a play.
“[It’s] about a man who loves musicals. So he plays his record of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ for the audience, but it comes to life and we see the plot of his favorite play,” junior and ensemble dancer Katherine Menezes said. “It’s a wedding and we get to see all the characters from this musical. There’s a lot of mix ups and mayhem.”
The Patriot Players started production months ago, first choosing what play they wanted to perform.
“When you’re picking the musical, it’s kind of a tough process,” senior and cast member Aiden McEntire said. “You have to take into account the size of the cast, the characters in the show, if there’s people to play those characters and how appropriate the show is.”
After auditions, rehearsals began in late January, typically running until about 6 p.m. As opening night approached, cast members began integrating their performances with the proper lighting and sound, then with costumes, and finally with the pit orchestra. In the week before the play—called “Tech Week”—rehearsal usually lasted until about 10 p.m.
“We do what’s called a cue-to-cue, which means you literally go through from cue to cue until they get the lighting and the sound perfectly right,” McEntire said. “So it can take a long time.”
However, when you see the final product, it’s clear that all those long hours paid off. The Drowsy Chaperone is bursting with entertainment from the moment it begins. The musical numbers are well-done and unique (especially the dance sequences). The costumes capture the 1920s glamour. The jokes—especially the more subtle ones—are spot-on and hilarious. Every single one of the cast members gives impressive, memorable performances. Even the people behind the scenes—whose jobs tend to be a bit more subtle—noticeably add to the play: the orchestra music is harmonious and all the set changes run smoothly. Overall, the musical is simply a great blend of humor, singing, and a few touching moments.
“It just gets down to why people go and watch theater, especially musicals,” senior and cast member Cody Shampine said. “It can take you away and just be this escape.”
The final performances are May 1 at 7:30 and May 2 at 2:30 and 7:30.