WHHS to perform ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ through the weekend
WHHS to perform ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ through the weekend
Posted on 04/30/2015
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WEST HAVEN, April 28, 2015 — The West Haven High School Theatre Workshop will be presenting “The Drowsy Chaperone” this week, with members showing off not only their acting chops, but their vocal abilities through the musical’s challenging score.

The show, described as a musical comedy, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 30, May 1 and May 2 in the WHHS auditorium, with tickets being sold at the door and in advance. There is also a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee that is free for senior citizens. The co-directors are Margi and Sean Maher, while the musical director is Phyllis Silver.

The show is a “story within a story”: It’s about a man listening to a recording of a 1920s musical called “The Drowsy Chaperone,” with cast members acting out the play the way he envisions it to look in his mind.  “The Drowsy Chaperone” recording he’s listening to chronicles the follies and foibles of a tipsy woman in charge of chaperoning a bride before her wedding and gangsters who have a stake in the possible future career of the bride.

The show is set in the Prohibition era with larger-than-life characters, plenty of laughs, some sentimental moments, big musical numbers, and even some roller skating.

“This might be the funniest show we’ve done,” said WHHS senior Tommy Nelson, who plays the groom and plans to attend Pace University next year for acting.

“It’s a harder musical, with more songs that really show our range,” added Whitney Bibens, the show’s bride and a WHHS senior who is looking to major in education and minor in performance next year in college.

Aspects of the show may be more challenging than in the past, but students got some tips from an expert: Beth Leavel, the star of “The Drowsy Chaperone” Broadway show who won a Tony in 2006 for her starring role as the “drowsy chaperone,” a.k.a. Beatrice Stockwell. Margi and Sean Maher coordinated Leavel’s visit in April as a surprise for the students. Leavel held a Q & A session with the Westies, giving advice on the show and acting in general, such as viewing each performance as if it’s your first.

“It was great just to see how much passion she had for the show and for acting. She said if you are really passionate about something, you put your all into it. It made us want to work harder,” said Jamie Kelley, another senior who heads off to college next year on a pre-law track and is a member of the ensemble in the spring musical.

And the cast hopes its audience understands all that hard work that has been put into the show and simply takes the opportunity to appreciate theater, says stage manager Kat Mazzacane.

“I want them to laugh and enjoy the show, but also to see the deeper meaning behind it,” she added.

Tickets for adults are $12 at the door or $10 in advance from cast members. Tickets are $5 for high school or college students with ID and children at the door only.