Opening on Nov. 18 in the Little Theatre is “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a musical comedy that features a show within a show structure, filled with 1920s-style song and dance numbers. The work poured into a theater piece of this scale comes from not only the performers, but from the coordinators of the dance and music, which make the production hardly drowsy.
The framing device for “The Drowsy Chaperone” is an old man listening to a record for a fictitious musical from the 1920s, which then transitions into a musical the man is recounting. It is an “evening of madcap delight,” according to the official press release for the performance.
The original music for “The Drowsy Chaperone” was written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar back in 1998. It is interpreted collaboratively by the musical director Mitchell Hanlon, the play’s choreographer William F. Lett and the play’s director Sarah Ripper.
As a choreographer, Lett mentions the play’s large scenic scale as being the most challenging aspect of his work in the production. However, this didn’t deter him or the performers who bring his choreography to life.
“We are about where we need to be for this time in the rehearsal process,” Lett said.
Lett spoke positively of the play’s director, Sarah Ripper, who allowed the cast to make their performances their own.
“Eighty percent of the choices they are making have been kept. So that is really nice that they have some kind of ownership within their production,” Lett said. “We have created opportunities for them to keep that, or we modify our choreographic and directorial choices to accommodate their choices so it becomes uniquely their own.”
Dance styles include “The Charleston,” “The Foxtrot” and “The Suzie-Q” among others. The variety of the show’s dancing styles reflects its show-within-a-show concept.
Mitchell Hanlon, the musical director for the production, in all aspects, must look out for the music. Hanlon also had a role in the production’s casting, judging their vocal abilities.
“Part of that is making sure that we don’t get caught with a lead who can’t sing in the key,” Hanlon said, “You try not to get to that because it is very expensive to change the music to fit the singer.”
There are cases, however, where the musical changes throughout the performance are for the betterment of the piece.
“The music is written, but there is a lot to interpret,” Hanlon said.
Admission for the performance is $24 at the door but, is $22 for Titans who purchase their tickets in advance.
“Come see ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’” Lett said. “You will laugh, and we all need a laugh.”