“The Drowsy Chaperone” keeps audiences awake and laughing at AR

%22The+Drowsy+Chaperone%22+Is+playing+7%3A30+p.m+tonight+and+12+noon+Sunday+at+Archbishop+Ryan.+Tickets+are+%2412+for+adults+and+%248+for+children+and+seniors+citizens.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" Is playing 7:30 p.m tonight and 12 noon Sunday at Archbishop Ryan. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children and seniors citizens.

Nicholas Polini

Nicholas Polini

"The Drowsy Chaperone" Is playing 7:30 p.m tonight and 12 noon Sunday at Archbishop Ryan. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children and seniors citizens.

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Archbishop Ryan’s brilliantly hysterical and indelibly memorable “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which stupendously satirizes Broadway in the 1920s through its unique musical-within-a-play structure, intoxicates its audience with its endless rounds of laughter.

The plot starts with a man in an apartment. Disenchanted with modern theater, he nostalgically plays for the audience a fictional 1928 play “The Drowsy Chaperone” on his Victrola, frequently interjecting to share his immense knowledge of the play and personal, often witty annotations. The musical itself concerns the impending marriage of Broadway star Janet Van De Graaff and oil tycoon Robert Martin. Van De Graaff is initially monitored by the title character, an alcoholic chaperone, but things go awry on wedding day.

The cast members have outdone themselves in this show, especially because they have to pause frequently to allow the man in the chair adds his footnotes. Cast members include Dan Chiodo as the Man in the Chair, Michaella Miles as Janet, Kayla Smith as The Drowsy Chaperone, and Aidan Norton as Aldolpho.

Dan Chiodo showed immense aptitude in playing the melancholic, reminiscent hermit, as he has the arduous task of continually breaking the fourth wall, and leading the rest of the cast. His line delivery and body language were stellar, and liven up the dingy apartment in which he lives.

Michaella Miles plays a strong role as the retiring Broadway star Janet, flawlessly melding the characteristics of ’20s-era Broadway stars. Acting dramaticly in both role and persona, with a dash of mental instability, Miles gives a spot-on performance.

Kayla Smith, in playing the apathetic, washed-up titular character, perfectly complements Miles’ idealism and naivety by portraying the Chaperone’s slightly cynical realism and devotion to Prohibition-era drinks. Smith owns her stage presence with her poised swagger and her intrinsically funny deadpan.  

Aidan Norton, in playing the Chaplin-esque comedic relief, or “European” as Feldzieg describes him, keeps the audience rollicking with his overly-suave Spanish accent and his numerous hilarious catchphrases. Norton’s laid-back and confident demeanor make his character incredibly memorable, and entertaining.

Other notable cast performances include Conor Owens as oil tycoon Robert Martin, Drew Santiago as best man George, Cecelia Jaskel as ditzy blonde Kitty, Shane McBride as the mannerly butler Underling, Hayley Retter as Trix the Aviatrix,Katie McCauley as hostess Mrs. Tottendale, and Tim Sees as producer Feldzieg.

Musically, the pit performed the string of show tunes well, adeptly switching between different styles, such as classic swing tap-number “Cold Feets” and intense tango “I Am Aldolpho.” In these numbers, the actors also have their special moments. In “Cold Feets,”Owens and Santiago effortlessly perform an intensive tap-routine, comedically stopping for a drink mid-song. In the reflective “Show Off,” Miles gracefully sings of her character’s boredom with acting, even while playing along with a ukelele.

In the show-stopper, “As We Stumble Along,”Smith showcases her impressive vocal ability by belting out the rousing lyrics that glorify alcoholism. In the lively, “I Do I Do in the Sky,” Retter charismatically leads the rest of the cast in joyously singing about marriage.

The choreography was skillful, considering various unusual moves that take place, ranging from spit takes, and hurtles, to tap dancing and even roller-skating.

Because the play is a satire, the play’s characters parody an endless array of cliches, ranging from dim-witted electricians and ditzy blonde flappers, to overly polite butlers and Mafiosi pastry chefs. The script, from its abrupt and blunt opening line to its clever jabs at biblical lovers’ spats, Disney racism, and Mormonic marriage traditions, guarantees laughter, even from the poutiest of pouters. It is also important to note that “The Drowsy Chaperone” is not the usual family-friendly children’s musical, but one much more mature, filled with subtle and adult-oriented references and dialogue. This is rather unusual for AR’s theater program, but nonetheless greatly satisfies.

Unfortunately, there were tiny errors. Less numerous than last semester’s “The Music Man,” but still present, the mics of some characters didn’t seem to be properly mixed at times, leading to some actors barely being audible for brief periods. Also, the department might want to consider investing in new, lighter microphones, as one actress’s mic fell from her costume during one song, somewhat visible to the audience. However, she remained professionalism and continued to perform, even when some background dancers craned their necks.

Other than those fixable blunders, the scenography, pit, lighting, direction, acting, and overall performance of the play was outstanding. The witty Broadway satire “The Drowsy Chaperone” is recommended for anyone looking for an intoxicating experience that won’t leave them hungover the next day.

Rating: 5/5

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1 Comment

One Response to ““The Drowsy Chaperone” keeps audiences awake and laughing at AR”

  1. Mary Monaco on April 30th, 2017 6:25 pm

    The show was great, funny and entertaining
    My favorite play at AR so far!

    [Reply]

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