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Dundalk Community Theatre The Drowsy Chaperone

By • Nov 9th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Drowsy Chaperone
Dundalk Community Theatre
CCBC Dundalk Campus, Baltimore, MD
Through November 13th
2:15 with one intermission
$23/$20 Seniors/$15 Students
Reviewed November 5th, 2011

Mix-ups. Mayhem. And a Gay Wedding!” proclaims The Man in the Chair following with “Of course, a gay wedding has a different meaning now.” Thus sets the tone for Dundalk Community Theatre’s delightful and whimsical production of The Drowsy Chaperone. The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. It debuted in 1998 at The Rivoli in Toronto and opened on Broadway on May 1, 2006. The show won the Tony Award for Best Book and Best Score.

The Drowsy Chaperone (self-proclaimed “A Musical Within a Comedy”) is a show within a show. The Man in the Chair (Patrick Martin) greets us in the dark and proceeds to take us flawlessly into the world of his favorite musical (The Drowsy Chaperone). He puts the record on and the musical comes to life with all the characters appearing in his apartment. We meet Mrs. Tottendale (Sarah Chrzanowski) and her faithful yet “slightly” annoyed butler Underling (Ernie Ritchey), the facilitators of the wedding; Robert Martin (Robert Tucker) who is about to marry Janet; Janet VanDeGraff (Amy Pierson), a star of the stage who is giving it up for love; her producer Mr. Feldzeig (Roger Schulman), who is less than thrilled about her decision; his blonde bombshell, dumb as nails (or is she?) girlfriend Kitty (Sara Anne Simpkins); the nervous, overwhelmed but always aiming to please best man George (Albert J. Boeren); the self-proclaimed greatest lover Aldolpho (Jeff Burch); two bumbling gangsters who pose as pastry chefs; an outed Aviatrix named Trix (Carly J. Callendar); and the elegant, soaked-with-martinis Chaperone (Shannon Wollman). It all makes brilliant sense at the end and truly delivers “Mix-ups. Mayhem. And a Gay Wedding!”

Patrick Martin (Man in Chair) leads this energetically talented cast. Martin’s performance is ingenious: over the top, yet passionately and emotionally subtle. He is dysfunctional, heartwarming, and downright hysterical. Just imagine Paul Lynd meets Phyllis Diller. Amy Pierson (Janet) is a triple threat with perfect comic timing. Robert Tucker (Robert) shines with horrible acting (that, my friends, takes a heck of a lot of talent) and a beautiful tenor voice. Roger Shulman (Feldzeig), Sara Anne Simpkins (Kitty), Kevin Connell Muth (Gangster #1), Will Poxton (Gangster #2), and Carly J. Callendar (Trix) provide stereotypical Hollywood musicals characters flawlessly. Albert J. Boren (George) puts a lot of effort and energy into the bumbling best man. Jeff Burch (Aldolpho) and Shannon Wollman (Chaperone)…WOW… Where do I start? Let’s just say their performances and show-stealing scenes are worth the price of admission!

A beautiful set, drop dead gorgeous back drops, perfectly proper and creative set pieces and lighting put you in the right mood for every need thanks to the mischievous talent of Scenic/Lighting Design/Technical Director Marc W. Smith. The deliciously luscious and very functional costumes are the effort of Costume Coordinator James J. Fashing. Tim Viets does a masterful job conducting the sometimes challenging and fast-tempoed score. The production is directed, vocally directed, and choreographed by mastermind/evil genius Tom Wyatt. It’s nice to see that community theatre still has great directors and choreographers who are not afraid to challenge their cast with difficult and creative material. Though I’m still having irrational dreams about singing and dancing monkeys.

The Drowsy Chaperone is a must-see, practically for all ages. Some of the sharper, blue-collar humor jokes go over the young one’s heads. So, if you need something to lift you up or if you’re simply feeling “blue,” this production will definitely do the trick.

Cast

  • Man In Chair: Patrick Martin
  • Mrs. Tottendal: Sarah Chrzanowski
  • Underling: Ernie Ritchey
  • Staff: Lauren Everd, Beth Higbee, Lauren J. Lowell, Paula Montrie, Laura Pierpont.
  • Robert Martin: Robert Tucker
  • George: Albert J. Boeren
  • Mr. Feldzeig: Roger Schulman
  • Kitty: Sara Anne Simpkins
  • Gangster #1: Kevin Connell Muth
  • Gangster #2: Will Poxon
  • Aldolpho: Jeff Burch
  • Janet Vandegraff: Amy Pierson
  • The Drowsy Chaperone: Shannon Wollman
  • Trix The Aviatrix: Carly J. Callendar
  • Superintendant: James Morton

Production Staff

  • Director/Vocal Director/Choreographer: Tom Wyatt
  • Scenic/Lighting Design/Technical Director: Marc W. Smith
  • Orchestra Manager/Conductor: Tim Viets
  • Costume Coordinator: James J. Fasching
  • Stage Manager/Properties: Molly Hopkins

Disclaimer: Dundalk Community Theatre provided four complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

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