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'Drowsy Chaperone' dazzles

By Amy pratt
On November 6, 2012

  • Emily Bartels (Kitty), Jonathon Bowling (Feldzieg), David Mione and Andrew Burlage (The Gangsters) perform together. Photo By Trevor Greenfield

"The Drowsy Chaperone," which was performed Nov. 1 through 4, pulled its audience back to the glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age.

The show was based on an original Broadway play with a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.  The play is a parody of American 1920's musical comedies. 

The performance at Kirkwood Community College was directed by Rick D. Anderson.   

The audience was transported back to the glamorous world of the 1920's where the world was full of excitement and Prohibition only made alcohol more popular with the upper class. 

The show began on the far right of the stage as the narrator, simply called Man in Chair, pulls out his favorite record, "The Drowsy Chaperone".  He eagerly invites the audience to experience the musical with him and I gladly accepted.  The narrator becomes the vessel through which the audience experiences the play.  He stops the record occasionally to add explanations that improve understanding and enjoyment.

Janet, the showgirl, her fiancé Robert and her alcoholic, or drowsy, chaperone provided the drama while two gangsters, disguised as pastry chefs, added a delightful comedy to balance the serious parts nicely.  A supporting cast of well-developed characters created a musical theater feast that left me wanting more. The actors were so skilled at immersing me in their world that, for an hour and a half, I completely forgot about my own.

Campy humor and puns permeated the light-hearted show.

All four performances were amazing. Thursday's opening night was filled with passion and enjoyment that spilled from the stage and washed over the entire auditorium. Friday and Saturday's shows, however, had a few signs of the actors losing steam.  Dialogue was a little rushed and some lines were skipped or forgotten altogether.

However, the people seeing it for the first time would not have been able to notice due to the smooth cover-ups.  The actors didn't let these tiny mistakes throw them as they continued to entertain and dazzle until the show reached its completion and the final curtain dropped on Sunday.

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