April 13, 2015, Carlinville, IL — Central Illinois audiences can come to Blackburn College’s Bothwell Auditorium to find out all about The Drowsy Chaperone. Performances of The Drowsy Chaperone will be Thursday through Saturday, April 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday April 19 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 and will be sold at the door, starting 30 minutes before each performance. For more information, contact Blackburn’s Department of Performing Arts at (217) 854-5704 or email@example.com.
What is The Drowsy Chaperone? Winner of 5 TONY Awards (including Best Book and Best Original Score), The Drowsy Chaperone is a loving send-up of the Jazz Age musical featuring one show-stopping song and dance number after another. The show begins with a man who is feeling blue and decides to play the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. The recording comes to life in the man’s apartment as this he looks on. Mix in two lovers on the eve of their wedding, a bumbling best man, a desperate theatre producer, a not so bright hostess, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a misguided Don Juan and an intoxicated (therefore drowsy) chaperone, and you have the ingredients for an evening of madcap delight. Hailed by New York Magazine as, “The Perfect Broadway Musical” The Drowsy Chaperone is a show you won’t want to miss! Due to some adult themes, this production is rated PG-13.
Who is The Drowsy Chaperone? The chaperone is the woman charged with safeguarding the bride as she prepares to get married. The chaperone is perpetually tipsy, and thus, drowsy. In her rousing anthem “As We Stumble Along,” she reveals her guiding principle: “Keep your eyeball on the highball in your hand.” Community member, Alex Boles, plays the entertaining and completely ineffective chaperone to Blackburn student Jessica Cramer’s dazzling Janet van de Graff, the bride.
The Blackburn College Performing Arts Department cast, an exceptional mix of talented college students is directed by Dr. Kate Roark, with musical direction by Dr. Elizabeth Zobel. The choreographer (and Best Man George in the cast) is Blackburn Freshman, Ajay Minton. Other Blackburn students in the cast include Brendan Lersch (Man in Chair), Patterson Friese (Robert Martin, the groom), James T. Maxson (Mr. Feldzief, the Broadway producer), Patrick Benedict (as Adolfo, the Latin Lover), Cierra Gibson (Trix the Aviatrix), Sara Hyneman and Rebecca Finke (Gangsters disguised as pastry chefs), Ashley Spears (Superintendent) and Cassidy Main and Lydia Lindsey in the ensemble. Community members in the cast include Jami-Lynn Lewis (Mrs. Tottendale), Jim Rawlins (Underling), and Carlinville High School students Mary Kline (Kitty) and Tori Lewis (Ensemble).
While this musical was written in the 21st century, the music refers back to the time of George Gershwin and Cole Porter. Composers and lyricists Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison have created a spoof of old-fashioned musicals, with a score that sounds like it belongs in the Jazz Age. The show calls for a significant pit orchestra. The music will be led by Blackburn music faculty, with Dr. Elizabeth Zobel at the baton and Dr. Pei-I Wang at the piano. Blackburn’s production will feature many area music teachers in the band, including Ryan Pirok (Carlinville), Sheri Steward (St. Rose), Brian Lotter (Staunton), Stephanie Beatty (Northwestern), and Jacob Smetters (Franklin). Also in the band are community musicians Gary Morris, Duston Suits and Max Slazinik, and two high school seniors, Arlen Magelitz (North Mac HS) and Emily Gillen (Carlinville HS).