By MIKE CHAIKEN
Bristol Eastern Theater Arts brings its cast—and the audiences—back to the Roaring ‘20s… kind of… with its production of the musical parody, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
The show is atypical for a high school production and the time period is one the high school students probably only know about through history books. But this hasn’t stopped the actors from falling in love with the show, which was produced for Broadway in 2006.
The story begins with a young man of the present sitting in a chair listening to a classic record album from the 1920s. And as he hears the music, he imagines his own take on the classic musicals of that era. An over the top and comical tale proceeds to be spun.
At first, said senior Annie Kaczmarczyk, who has the lead role of Janet Van De Graaff, a showgirl looking to say goodbye to the stage as she courts an oil tycoon, “I didn’t really have a reaction because I have never heard of it but once I looked it up I was very excited.”
Freshman Emma Kelly, who is a member of the ensemble, said when she learned BETA was doing “The Drowsy Chaperone,” said, “My first thoughts of the show, were that it seemed funny and actually pretty exciting.”
Junior Megan Madore, another ensemble member said: “I wasn’t familiar with the show but when I heard it was a Broadway show I knew it was going to be good and couldn’t wait to be a part of it.”
As for what she likes about the BETA production of the musical, Annie said, “I feel now everyone is really comfortable with their characters and now you can really see how funny each of the different personalities of the characters are which makes the show even more hilarious.”
Emma said, “One thing I like about the show is the choreography. Our two student choreographers are very talented, and have arranged some very fun dances for the whole cast.”
“The style of music and dancing are definitely fun and energetic,” added Megan.
Emma added, “My favorite dimension of the production is probably either the dance (numbers) or the songs. Both are really fun.”
“The songs by far (are the best part of the show),” said Annie. “They are just so catchy, I end up singing them all day long. All the songs really show off the talent our amazing cast has as well as conveys humor in a very interesting way that I think the audience will really enjoy.”
As for what they like about what the BETA actors bring to the table in terms of talent and sense of community on stage for “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Annie said, “The cast this year is just amazing. We all help each other, which really helps bring to light new jokes in the script that were once ignored. The show is coming to life more and more each rehearsal as we all are getting comfortable and just having fun.”
Megan said: “(The BETA cast members) make it fun to be on stage and put a little part of themselves into their roles.”
Emma said “One thing I like about how our fellow cast members have helped bring the show to life, was through the choreography that they’ve created and adding their own personalities into their lines and songs. Overall, our cast is incredibly talented and involved.”
But, Annie said, “The biggest concern I would say for myself and the rest of the cast is making this show as special to the audience as it is to us. We all are trying our best to bring each character to life and make the audience feel like the man in the chair and transport into another world rather than just watching a show in the theater.”
As for why audiences should attend “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Annie said, “It’s ridiculously funny.”
“There are a lot of laughable moments but you have to come and see,” Megan said. “‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is really entertaining. You never know what’s coming next.”
“There are something’s in this that aren’t in most shows,” said Megan.
Bristol Eastern Theater Arts presents “The Drowsy Chaperone” on Thursday, May 1, Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3 at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bristol Eastern High School, 632 King St., Bristol.
Tickets are $8 for students, staff, and seniors and $10 for general admission. There also will be a special discount for senior citizens for the matinee on Saturday with tickets only $5. Coffee and refreshments also will be served before the matinee on Saturday.
By MIKE CHAIKEN