Friday, April 27, through Sunday, May 6
Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center, 3750 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island IL
Winner of five 2006 Tony Awards and described by Variety magazine as “irresistible” and “superior, smartly crafted pastiche,” the joyous musical-comedy spoof The Drowsy Chaperone will receive a season-ending staging at Augustana College April 27 through May 6, its feel-good delights suggesting why the New York Times stated that “few productions have ever pulled an audience so immediately and unconditionally on their sides.”
Initially set in a drab New York City apartment, the show immediately introduces us to our on-stage narrator: a sweet, sardonic figure known only as Man in Chair. Although he professes to hate theatre, Man in Chair also has only one known cure for his “non-specific sadness,” which comes in the form of his rare recording of The Drowsy Chaperone, a (fictional) 1928 musical comedy that always puts him in a wonderful mood. As he plays the record for us, it comes to magical life in his living room, which is soon bursting with splashy production numbers, elaborate dance sequences, and memorable slapstick characters. Written by much of the same team responsible for the theatre-themed, Canadian comedy series Slings & Arrows, The Drowsy Chaperone's Tony wins included those for Best Book of a Musical, Original Score, and Scenic Design, and the original Broadway production starring Sutton Foster ran for 674 performances.
Serving as director of Augustana's musical is the theatre department's assistant professor Shelley Johnson, writer/star of the December presentation La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas, and director of the Mississippi Bend Players' forthcoming season-opener Big River. Assistant professor of music Michelle Crouch serves as The Drowsy Chaperone's music director, with scenic design by Emma Brutman, lighting design by Andy Gutshall, and costumes by Ellen Dixon. And with Jaryd Whitmore (In the Next Room, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Rabbit Hole) portraying Man in Chair, nearly three dozen performers appear in the show's ensemble: Austin Albert, Liam Baldwin, Izzy Bartscher, Naomi Beckley, Stephie Benito, Nathaniel Bohrer, Natalie Brown, Kelsey Bumann, Elise Campbell, Moira Dunn, Chase Fahy, Katie Griswold, Corynn Hajdys, Rami Halabi, Claire Hartman, Bradley Heinrichs, Jess Holzknecht, Katie Kleve, Aubrey Lyon, Sabrina Massa, Jonathan Meir, Maissie Musick, Meghan Noonan, Siena Oliveri, Abby Overman, Jake Pecaut, Abby Roselieb, Shannon Ryan, Phillip Tunnicliff, James Wheeler, Daniel Williams, Maria Wood, and Tammy Zapata.
The Drowsy Chaperone will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays, tickets are $12-14, and more information and reservations are available by calling (309)794-7306 or visiting Augustana.edu.