Acting prepares musical ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’

by | November 3, 2016 | in Arts | No Comments

“Unexpected,” “predictable,” “acrobatic,”  “weird,”  “simple”  and “out of the blue”.   

These are just a few of the ways the producers of the upcoming acting musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” are describing what will be springing onto the stage of the Alan Harvey Theater from Nov. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m. each night.

Performing a large musical is unusual for the advanced acting class; they usually do a series of fall plays.

The actors for “The Drowsy Chaperone” have been working on the musical since the beginning of this school year, when they held singing, acting, movement and dance auditions.  The cast list was created the following weekend. Acting teacher,  director Kim Taylor is leading its production.

“‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is different compared to most musicals … because … it has a man talking about a musical [that is happening] as he talks about it,”sophomore David Morris said.

This character, known as Man in Chair and played by junior T.H. Williamson, guides the audience through a recording of a fictional musical that is very dear to him called “The Drowsy Chaperone”.img_4079

The rest of the cast includes 14 actors who all play different characters from the musical played in the recording.

While actors are an integral component to musicals, there are other gears that spin alongside them to create a fully functioning musical.  Of the 42 students involved in “The Drowsy Chaperone”, 28 of them have non-acting roles.

Sibal is the music director, orchestra teacher Cathy Devos is conducting and leading a group of student musicians and senior Daniel Weekes along with junior Olivia Adams are the stage directors.

As the music director, Sibal is responsible for shaping the vocal components of the musical.  A unique challenge is that she has is working with a exceptionally large cast.

“I basically teach [the cast]… their sheet music … the show has some pretty complex harmonies [but] they’re doing a really great job learning all of it … I love, love vocal directing, it’s one of my favorite part of my schedule,” Sibal said.

As a stage director, Weekes works to ensure that the musical runs smoothly by making sure that people and props are consistently where they are supposed to be at the right times.

Weekes said that the complexity of some of the musical’s dance numbers is one of the challenges being worked on.

“There’s a lot of moving steps and … really cool things that have a lot of … safety precautions that we need to …  figure out how to do … a lot of flips, backflips and cartwheels … everyone needs to be really safe,” Weekes said.

Another unique task Weekes has had to manage for “The Drowsy Chaperone” is the construction of custom props.

“There’s a …  plane that’s going to be the size of the stage. To make that we had to find all the wood and make sure that we could have people who know how to build something like that.,” Weekes said.

While Weekes oversees the stage,  11 student musicians rehearse the musical score of “The Drowsy Chaperone”.

Senior and drummer Ryan Padua, said that it’s music score is written in the big band jazz style of the 1930s. The score’s numerous key change, complex rhythms and accompaniment role makes it challenging for the musicians.

“The music is very hard, especially compared to [the music played in] band class and it requires a lot of effort at home,” Sophomore and clarinet player Josh DeBare said.

“Playing with live singers is [also] really hard because [we] have to follow them … we’re not the main event …  the singer is, so we have to sync up with them,” Padua said.

Nonetheless, the student musicians still enjoy playing the music.

“It’s nice to play my part and to help support the actors and actresses on stage,” DeBare said.

Padua said that while it isn’t the main focus of a musical, music is still very important to the musical experience.

“A musical without music is not … a musical; it’s just a play,” Padua said.

The student musicians have been rehearsing the music score for “The Drowsy Chaperone” weekly with Ms. Devos for at least a month on Fridays for at least two hours per session.

Sibal and Campbell both shared how “The Drowsy Chaperone” can connect to them and others.

“I think high school … can sometimes be taken too seriously and it gives people too much  … unnecessary stress …  I think this [musical] can show you that even if you’re having an awful day, or … very anxious about something, there’s always the little things that can get you through the day,” Sibal said.

Campbell said that she can personally relate to the musical.

“[It’s] relatable … how everyone has that one thing that is really special to them that is different from other people.”

Tickets will be available online and at the door. Student tickets will be 10 dollars, adult tickets are 17 dollars and reserved seats will be 30 dollars.