A Preview of The Drowsy Chaperone


Jackson Wand

Potential cast members snap a photo before round two of auditions.

Last week, Benet’s theater department got ready to commence auditions for this year’s musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. Many students have strong feelings about this year’s show. Sophomore Mary Panatera, auditioning for the musical, said, “I’m super excited for this year’s show! This show just seems like a whole lot of fun, and I’m hoping it will be as full of energy and joy as I hope it will! Last year’s show was amazing, and I cannot wait to see what this show has in store!”

The musical opens with The Man in Chair, a mousy yet agoraphobic Broadway fanatic who is seeking to cure his “non-specific sadness” by listening to a fictional musical comedy set in the 1920s, The Drowsy Chaperone. As he plays his recording, the musical comes to life right before his eyes. The characters appear in his dingy apartment, transforming it into an immersive set with seashell footlights, sparkling furniture, and painted backdrops. When a wealthy widow, Mrs. Tottenham, hosts the wedding of the year, she gets a lot more than her article in the society pages of the late 1920s. 

Janet Van de Graaff, the glittering starlet of Feldzieg’s Follies, has finally decided to leave the stage for love in a shocking turn of events. Mr. Feldzieg is meant to stop the wedding at all costs, aided by two gangsters, cleverly disguised as pastry chefs, to ensure he stops the wedding. Feldzieg decides to hire Aldolpho, a Latin lover who turns out to be more vain than virile, to seduce the bride. This magical meta-theater features a chirpy jazz age score by Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert and a lively yet clever book by Don McKellar and Bob Martin. 

Featuring a wide cast, The Drowsy Chaperone stars Janet Van de Graaff, the shining star of Feldzieg’s Follies, who has become conflicted about giving up her stage life to marry Robert Martin, even though she loves being the center of attention. Robert Martin, the groom-to-be, is deeply in love with Janet. Dapper, dashing, and a matinee idol, he is the token 1920s leading man. He is cheesy, cheerful, and optimistic. Our night would not be complete without The Drowsy Chaperone, Janet’s alcoholic confidante.

The Drowsy Chaperone is a carefree woman, often because she has had too much to drink. She is described as an experienced “woman of the world,” but she could not care less what the world thinks about her. As a melodramatic diva to be reckoned with, she can steal just about every scene she is in with the flick of her finger.

Also in the musical is Aldolpho, the Latin lothario, a womanizing cad who seems all too impressed with himself. He is confident, vigorous, and an ambitious buffoon. Then comes the host of the wedding, the wealthy widow Mrs. Tottendale. She is a flighty, eccentric woman who is frequently forgetful. She presents herself as charming and “bubbly” and is utterly oblivious to the confusion her behavior creates in other people.

However, the musical would only be complete with the antagonist, Mr. Feldzieg. The desperate producer is willing to try anything to stop the wedding. He only cares about keeping his star, Janet, in the Follies. He is highly nervous, impatient, sarcastic, overbearing, and insensitive. Who would not be if the biggest star was leaving the spotlight? Of course, one cannot forget Kitty, the 1920s “dumb blonde” and one of Mr. Feldzieg’s companions. Desperate for stardom, she will do just about anything to be a leading lady.

Last but not least, George, Robert’s anxious best man. As a loyal, sincere, and nervous man, he is only focused on looking out for Robert’s best interests, trying his absolute hardest to ensure that the wedding will go off without a hitch.

With one high-jinx after another, The Drowsy Chaperone is set to be one of Benet’s most ambitious musicals yet! Looking to the future with optimism, many Benet students, including sophomore Kiki Sobkowiak, are more than excited to present and perform The Drowsy Chaperone, “I know it will accurately portray the talents and humor of the benet theater association, and because of that, I’m so excited to see how it will all play out!” So to all theatrical Redwings, break a leg!