A heart-warming parody of musical comedies of the 1920s with a little monkey motif is the story behind “The Drowsy Chaperone” which will be performed by the Misericordia Players Nov. 21-24.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” features music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and is based on the book by Robert Martin and Don McKellar.
The musical tells the story of a man listening to a humorous and touching show titled “The Drowsy Chaperone,” where a wedding is planned, a wedding is cancelled, and a wedding finally happens. As he listens, the actors and actresses come to life and perform in his living room.
After the Players’ last show season with “Nicholas Nickleby” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the staff and cast hope this show promotes a different feeling than previous productions.
Adam Myers, junior mass communications and design major, portrays the role of the groom’s best man George.
“It’s a fun little journey that is full of colorful and corny humor,” Myers said. “We have done a lot of serious and dramatic shows these past couple of years, so it is a nice break for the audience to just sit back, relax, and have one heck of a time.”
While “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a comedy, the main character of the “Man In Chair” struggles with his own internal problems. To make himself feel better, he listens to musicals and reminiscences about the happy moments of his life.
Jeff Kelly, manager of cultural and special events and director of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” hopes the “Man In Chair” can inspire audience members.
“Remember anytime you’re not feeling happy, or you’re feeling sad or feeling blue, to remember something that made you feel really good and relive that moment,” said Kelly. “I want the audience to connect with that and think ‘life’s okay.’”
Despite some sad moments, the musical has a lot of moments that will make the audience smile, like a tap dance number, including a butler and a scene where the groom is roller-skating around the stage blindfolded.
“It was one of my favorite shows I’ve ever been in,” said Kelly, remembering when he starred in a production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” 10 years ago. “The characters are just so rich; they have such fun backstories.”
Kelly said the Pastry Chefs are some of his favorite characters. They are portrayed by third-year doctor of physical therapy student Jacob Schweiger and senior speech-language pathology major Noah Schweiger, respectively.
“They’re gangsters dressed as pastry chefs; they don’t have a care in the world,” said Kelly. “They bust people up and make a bunch of terrible puns.”
Kelly said that, while “The Drowsy Chaperone” is not as well-known as other productions the Players have done like “Pippin,” the audience will love it and feel like a part of it.
“Everyone struggles with some inside battle. I think the show reminds you that it’s okay to feel that way,” said Kelly. “Some days you do need to just sit down and listen to music or read a book to recharge.”
Natalie Deutsch, a junior early and special education major and social media manager for the Players, portrays the role of the drowsy chaperone, the bride’s maid of honor and confidante who is usually intoxicated.
Deutsch said working on the show has helped her forget about her own hectic life.
“While working on the show, I have found that, through the character developments, rehearsals and relationships made, it takes me away from the chaos,” she said. “Each day, I wait for rehearsal and participate in something I truly love.”
Deutsch hopes audience members will feel the same as she does when they watch the performances.
“I hope the audience is able to sit and enjoy the show and forget, just for a moment, the hectic life outside the theater doors.”
Myers hopes that, while the audience is able to be inspired by their show, they are also able to realize the hard work the Players have done.
“We, as a group, have broken attendance records throughout all of the [Misericordia] Players’ history, and have made a permanent impact on this campus. That is because we are dedicated and have to put on phenomenal shows, but we also have fun performing them,” said Myers. “I feel that many people don’t understand what it is like being in a Players’ show or in a musical in general. So maybe if they see this hilarious show, they would try out for future shows.”
The Misericordia Players will present “The Drowsy Chaperone” Nov. 21-23 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at misericordia.edu/mup or at the door. Tickets are $5 for Misericordia students, alumni and senior citizens. Tickets are $8 for general admission.