Theatre UCF opens the fun and rambunctious musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone on Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Main Stage Theater on the UCF Campus. The play runs through Nov. 2 and includes guest artists at every performance and one performance with sign language interpretation.
The Drowsy Chaperone made its Broadway debut in 2006, and won five Tony Awards. When a contemporary musical theatre enthusiast invites the audience to listen to his favorite Broadway cast album, the 1920’s romp springs to life with the first notes that leave his record player. The characters include a young starlet and her fiancé, an intoxicated chaperone, an aviatrix, and other eccentric individuals, drawing audiences into the interwoven storylines.
Director Earl D. Weaver says the show is “a silly, fun show, and meant to entertain.” The show pokes fun at the time period, he said, and at the same time points out some of the outrageous, politically incorrect antics of the era, like Caucasian actors portraying stereotypical Asian characters. “The show contains content that people may find offensive, but it’s intentional. It points out how we have evolved in the arts. Musicals from that era contained material that just isn’t acceptable anymore.”
Actors in the production have taken up the roles of two characters, that of the character in the cast recording and that of the actor portraying that character. Caitlin Doak, who is portraying the lead role of Janet, said: “The challenge is balancing the character of Janet van de Graff as well as the actress playing her, which is Jane Roberts. We have to figure out in the scene when is it that the actor portraying that character shines through and when it is just the character.”
Alex Bair, portraying the role of Man in Chair, the die-hard musical theatre enthusiast, said the most interesting thing of his character is “that he is so passionate about the recording of The Drowsy Chaperone. He starts off in a dark place in his life. Listening to the record and letting the show come to life is how he is really able to overcome that.”
There will be one guest appearance per performance. Guests include university officials, characters from past Theatre UCF productions, and community members. For patrons looking to see a particular guest, the box office has a list of guests and dates they will appear.
Theatre UCF will be partnering with students and faculty from Valencia College’s Sign Language Interpretation program for the Saturday, Nov. 2 performance. Patrons wishing to sit near the interpreters should make the request when purchasing their tickets. Group prices are available for 10 or more people.
Production at a glance
The Drowsy Chaperone
Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison
Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar
Directed by Earl Weaver
8 p.m.: Oct. 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
Nov. 1, 2
2 p.m.: Oct. 20, 27
Price: Standard $20, Senior $18, Student $10; Group discounts available
Box Office Phone: 407- 823-1500