“The Drowsy Chaperone,” Whitworth Theatre’s fall production, is a comedy. Or a musical. Or both. As the tagline says, it is a “musical inside a comedy.” Directed by Brooke Kiener, the play focuses on a man who is listening to old musical records in his apartment. The man, played by senior Mitch Heid, becomes the guide and interrupter of the musical that is playing on his old record.
The musical unfolds before the audience, and it constantly pokes fun at stereotypical musicals from the 1920s. It features stereotypical characters such as the gangsters who deal primarily in puns, drunken damsels and slightly racist women seducers.
The musical within the play, aptly titled “The Drowsy Chaperone,” follows a young couple on the verge of getting married, although Janet Van de Graaff, played by senior Lise Hafso, is having second thoughts between her successful career on the stage and the marriage which would cause her to dismiss her career. There are various capers and goofiness related to the marriage.
The main piece to the musical, believe it or not, were the musical pieces that were performed throughout the night. The live pit band, featuring 11 current or former Whitworth students and led by Scott Miller, played various instruments and songs to keep up with the actors and actresses on stage.
A total of 12 songs were performed during the play; each one had choreography, lyrics and set pieces that were added and subtracted throughout. The memorization of the entire production alone is impressive.
The cast, featuring 17 students, had a steady grasp on the play as far as the audience could tell, as well as the crew who ran the lights, the sets, the costumes and all of the many moving parts of this production.
Perhaps the crowd favorite from the night was Aldolpho, the womanizing Spanish man who seduces the chaperone under the pretense of her being the bride. Played by sophomore Tommy Bochi, the accent, dim-wittedness and clumsy antics kept the crowd entertained in all the scenes where Aldolpho is present.
However, the sheer talent of all the characters was pretty staggering.
“The play was really good,” junior Jansen Leggett said. “Even though my high school did it was still really fun to watch.”
The play was fun and was looking for laughs. However, at the very end of the play, it even is able to pull on the audience’s heartstrings a little bit. The man who is leading the audience through the musical suddenly reveals why he has such an affinity for a cheesy musical from 1928. This point is hit home surprisingly well, despite the general goofiness of the play.
The Whitworth theater department will also have several more productions coming up throughout this year. If you want to get involved or find more information, the theater department is located in Cowles Auditorium or more information can be found on Whitworth’s website.
“It is really great that we don’t need to travel very far to see great productions,” junior Savanna Jenkins said. “We don’t have to go to Broadway or anything like that to have fun.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” will continue to run on campus until Saturday, Oct. 18.