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Entertainment :: 'Drowsy Chaperone' opening 'well-received'
· 10:03am March 1st, 2013
The ACT 1 performance of "Drowsy Chaperone" earned a warm reception from the opening night audience Thursday, says the director.
In the show has been so-well received that the Sunday matinee is already nearly sold out. ACT 1 reports, however, that many seats reman for the Friday and Saturday night performances.
"It was a very well received performance by the audience; everything about the performance went very smoothly, just as it was supposed to. It was a great opening night," says Director Steve Arnold.
Arnold, along with the cast and crew, hope a large crowd will join them this weekend as they continue to perform the show.
"The audience will enjoy it as much as we have," said Dave Gates, who serves as the musical director for the show.
"The music is amazing," says Arnold. "And I liked the idea of doing a musical that is recent, not one written 50 years ago that everyone has heard of and seen many times. We had great success with "13," which was a new show, and I wanted to bring something new to our audience again. I think our audience will really love it."
"I love this cast! Everyone is not only super-talented, but also a joy to work, sing, and perform with," says ACT 1 veteran actress Rachel Bonar, who plays the lead female role of Janet.
"What I love about the role of Janet, is I get to pretend to be glamorous -- she is a lot of fun," says Rachel.
Director Arnold also promises some unique surprises that have not ever been seen on the Palace stage.
Performance dates are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 28-March 2), and at 2 pm. Sunday, March 3.
"It's a delightful show," says the director. It has a silly premise, but actually has its moments when it's almost poignant."
From a production perspective, "Drowsy Chaperone has been "a fairly trouble-free show," says Arnold.
"The music is flashy and bright, but not overly daunting. And there is so much satire all the way through -- nearly every scene in the show is a parody of either a style of musicals of the past, or actual shows," he says.
The show also brings out the best in the performers, says the director.
"And you'll see some very familiar performers really rocking their parts. I think there are quite a few actors who I'd say are as at the top of their game as they've ever been," Arnold says.
Since he first saw "Drowsy Chaperone," Arnold has planned to bring it to ACT 1 as soon as possible.
"It was released about a year ago, so it hasn't been done a lot of places yet," he said. "I've had my eye on it for quite some time. It ran on Broadway in 2006, and I've been waiting for it."
Click HERE to see a slide show featuring scores of photos and two of the songs from the show.
About the musical, and the ACT 1 cast
The Drowsy Chaperone is “a musical within a comedy,” with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. It is a parody of American musical comedy of the 1920s.
The story takes place in the mind and the apartment of The Man in the Chair, played by Jim Hilliard, a character who shares the (fictional) 1928 musical The Drowsy Chaperone with the audience by playing an LP record. As he plays the record, the characters from the show materialize in his apartment and the story unfolds with his comments about the story and the actors who played the parts in the Broadway production.
The storyline of the musical takes place in a single day on the estate of Mrs. Tottendale, played by April Seitz. Janet Van De Graaff – the star of Feldzieg’s Follies, played by Rachel K. Bonar, is to be married that afternoon to Robert Martin, played by David Urlaub. Mr. Feldzieg, producer of the Follies, played by Steve Auld, is determined to stop the wedding so he won’t lose his leading lady. Two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, representing one of the show’s biggest investors, are on hand to put the heat on Feldzieg to see that the wedding doesn’t happen. The improbable story line is filled with crazy mixups all the way to the show’s totally illogical ending, and along the way virtually every scene proves to be a parody of some other show, with friendly jabs at every show from The Sound of Music to Miss Saigon.
Others in the local cast are Kevin Ahrenholz as The Underling, Alex Vasquez as George, Suzie Westlund as Kitty, Keaton Kline and Riley Hansen as the pastry chefs/gangsters, Wayne Brandt as Aldolpho, Allison Watkins as Trix the Aviatrix, Tim Westmeyer as the Superintendent, and Bonnie Beyer as the Drowsy Chaperone. (Drowsy is a euphemism for tipsy.) The rest of the cast includes Kathy Hulse, Jeff Bonlander, Amber Bonlander, Mike Kahler, Sherry Stout, Aspen Auld and Nathan Franck.
The ACT I production is directed by Steve Arnold, assisted by Doug Martens. Dave Gates is music director, Joan Cooling-Noeller is the choreographer, Judy Trygstadt is the pit band director, and the rehearsal pianist is Mary Ann Whelchel.
The running length is about an hour and 40 minutes, with no intermission.
The history of 'The Drowsy Chaperone'
The Drowsy Chaperone began its life in 1997 as the entertainment for a bachelor party for the wedding of two Canadian actors, Robert Martin and Janet Van De Graaff. The show was then rewritten for commercial production and opened in 1998 in Toronto. It had its Broadway run from April 3, 2006 – December 20, 2007, with 674 performances. Robert Martin, for whose wedding the show was written, portrayed The Man in the Chair in the Broadway production.
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