"The Drowsy Chaperone:" It's Show Time for BHS Seniors
By Julie Perine on October 08, 2012
Described by cast member Maggie Ludwig as a “Broadway gem,” the play is a parody of American musical comedy of the 1920s.
The storyline involves a withdrawn, middle-aged fan of the musical theater who, while spinning the record of his favorite musical - “The Drowsy Chaperone” - watches it come to life in his own living room.
“It’s completely ridiculous,” Ludwig said. “It’s just really fun. There are no serious moments at all.”
Ludwig plays Janet Van De Graaff.
“She’s this glamorous Broadway star who gives up the stage to marry a man she hardly knows,” Ludwig said.
Among funniest scenes, Ludwig said, is one featuring the bride and her groom Robert, who aren’t supposed to see each other on their wedding day.
“My character is conflicted and needs to know that he loves her so she goes to look for him,” she said. “The best man has him blindfolded to keep him from seeing her, but he is roller skating, which is completely ridiculous. She pretends to be some French girl and it turns into total mayhem.”
Robert is portrayed by Kody Mullins. Other key actors include Ally Herron as Mrs. Tottendale and Brooke Cottrill in the title role.
Other BHS seniors taking the stage are Gino Alonge, Brooklyn Clemons, Cameron Coley, Nico del Greco, Lauren Ferrell, Jesse Hamrick, Chase Janey, James Jesmer, Devon Johns, Logan Lehosit, Kallie Nealis, Bethany Reed and Katilyn Romain.
Guest star is 1993 BHS graduate and regional actor, Thomas Schoffler, who plays the role of “Man in Chair." Schoffler is assistant professor of music theatre at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The talent is stellar, said Director Jason Young. The main difference between this play and those done in the past is that this is a lesser-known title than most produced at BHS.
“Because we are so dependent upon ticket sales, we are usually forced to do something name recognizable. For example, last year we did ‘Sound of Music’ and the year before, ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” We’ve kind of gotten stuck in that classic mold,” he said. “I really like this year’s senior class in terms of depth of talent and wanted to do something which was more of an ensemble piece with a lot of feature roles and no principal player. I just kind of felt like The Drowsy Chaperone fit what we had and it’s a really fun comedy which has introduced the kids to a style we’ve never done before. It’s very vaudeville in nature and it’s very presentational. It also created an opportunity to bring in a guest artist so the kids would have the opportunity to work side-by-side with a professional actor.”
Ludwig has enjoyed the fun and the challenge, she said.
“It’s so fantastic that BHS gets to do this because normally we do shows which are more geared toward popularity that people know,” she said. “This show has one of the best books ever and won a Tony. It is unique and the story is cool because it’s really a period piece set in modern times.”
Young said he is excited to direct one of his all-time favorite stage shows.
Its development involved chartering into unfamiliar territory and it’s been a long, yet successful ride.
“We talked about Abbott Costello and stuff like that,” Young said. “But we’re having a blast and we’re really glad we did it.”
This will be the West Virginia premiere of the show in high school theater, Young said. This particular weekend was chosen as it is bye week for BHS football and a Friday night performance can be included.
Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 each and available for purchase by calling 304-842-6785. All shows will be presented at the BHS auditorium.