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Nostalgia-filled musical to delight audiences

By Leah Coffman
On October 25, 2012

  • The cast of The Drowsy Chaperone rehearses the pun-filled number Toledo Surprise on stage in Ballantyne Auditorium. Photo By Dallas Wilcox
  • Emily Bartels' performance as the over-the-top and campy Kitty adds to the comedy of The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo By Dallas Wilcox
  • Joshua Rouse as Man In Chair provides a series of monologues to accompany his presentation of the show within a show. Photo By Dallas Wilcox
  • Act 1 of the The Drowsy Chaperone ends in a bombshell dropped by Nikki Stewart's character Janet Van De Graaf. Photo By Dallas Wilcox

 

The light-hearted joy of the golden age of musicals is recaptured in this year's fall production.

Kirkwood Community College presents its fall musical "The Drowsy Chaperone", opening on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Ballantyne Auditorium.

The musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2006, won five Tony Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Book.  The comedy features a humorous and nostalgia-filled look back at the musicals of the 1920s.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" is narrated by the character Man In Chair, Joshua Rouse, Liberal Arts emphasis. Rouse leads the audience through a recording of his favorite musical, the titular "The Drowsy Chaperone".

His narration acts as a framing device, as well as allowing for comedic interruptions to the body of the show. "It's just a silly show," he remarked. 

According to Rick Anderson, director of Theater, "It's kind of like a new, old musical."  The light-hearted shows that roamed the stages of Broadway are lovingly teased, with elements of old vaudevillian theatre and traditional musical tropes gleefully lambasted. "It's fluff. 'It's just fun!'" Anderson added, quoting from the show.  

Nikki Stewart, a vocal emphasis student who plays Janet Van De Graaff, agreed with Anderson's sentiments.  "It's so campy and bright.  It's really comical.  Audiences are in for a night of fun-they'll be whisked away." 

Becca Mione, Liberal Arts emphasis and member of the cast, added, "There's going to be some really silly stuff on stage."

The show also includes a wide variety of dance and musical styles.  "Cold Feets," a song in Act I of the show, is a tap number, while an "accidental" performance of a piece from a different fictional show is shown in lieu of an intermission.

The musical within the musical involves mistaken identities and camp performances in a loving tribute to the Jazz Age.

"I think audiences will have a good time with it," Anderson said. 

"It engages (the audience) a lot.  There's no reason not to go," added Stewart.

The show runs through Sunday, Nov. 4, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Admission is free for Kirkwood students and employees, with $10 regular admission and $5 for non-Kirkwood students and seniors.


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