‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ visits Murray Amphitheater’s stageAug 03, 2022 08:33PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Often called a musical within a comedy, ”The Drowsy Chaperone” will bring 1920’s era jazz to Murray Amphitheater’s audiences in August. The five-time Tony Award-winning play, including Best Original Score, will wrap up the Murray City Cultural Arts summer season.
The play is narrated by the enigmatically named Man in Chair, who recalls a 1920’s musical about all the misfortunes at a celebrity wedding. As Man in Chair, a dyed-in-the-wool musical theater fan, plays his favorite cast album, the fictional 1928 musical comedy “The Drowsy Chaperone,” he recalls events surrounding that fateful play.
As the overture starts, the musical comes to life in his studio apartment, telling the high-spirited tale of a brash Broadway actress giving up her life on the stage to marry her love, and her producer, who is so anxious to keep his showgirl that he will go to great lengths to stop the nuptials. With an elaborate cast of extravagant characters, including the handsome groom, his best man, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, the Latin lover, and a drunken chaperone, “The Drowsy Chaperone” addresses one of the greatest desires in everyone’s heart—to be entertained. As the Man in Chair wraps up his memories, he invites the audience to join in and sing with him, “As We Stumble Along.”
Written by Bob Martin and Don Mckellar, with music and lyrics composed by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, “The Drowsy Chaperone” first premiered in Toronto in 1997. The show debuted on Broadway in 2006 and toured nationally in 2007.
Veteran director Jim E. Smith helms Murray Amphitheater’s production. Smith started directing shows for Murray City in 1991 and has been teaching theater at Lone Peak High School, having just retired this year.
“Before I started directing, I was an actor, and until I was asked to direct a show, and decided I liked directing better,” Smith said.
Broadway veteran Emily Witte will star as Janet. In 2013, she performed “Ghostlight” in New York City. The role of Man in Chair will be brought to life by JD Ramey, who played the part at the Scera Center of the Arts in 2021. He also starred in Hale Center Theater’s 2018 production of “Annie,” in the role of Bert Healy. Natalie Savage plays Mrs. Tottenham; she recently appeared in “The Christmas Carol” at Hale Centre Theatre 2022.
Rounding out the rest of the cast are: Macy Rhees (Chaperone), Erik Christianson (Underling), Dallin Lewis (Robert Martin), Kevin Elzey (Feldzieg), Meagan Rudd (Kitty), Damon Yauney (Aldolpho), Ashley Gates (Trix the Aviatrix), Allessandro Falabella (Gangster No. 1), and Daniel Bearss (Gangster No. 2).
The production team is composed of Betsy Christenson (Assistant Director/Stage Manager), Kersee Whitney (Choreographer), Leslie Rhodes (Musical Director), Chloe Cox (Set Designer), Tawnya Bearrs (Props), and Steve Voorhees (Orchestra Conductor).
“It is a very funny and heartwarming show,” Smith said.
The show will take place at the Murray Amphitheater (495 E. 5300 South). Performances will be held on Aug. 12-13, 15, 18-20 at 8 p.m. ASL interpreters will be signing the show on Aug. 15. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 child/senior/military.
Individual tickets and season passes are sold at the Murray Parks & Recreation Office (296 E. Murray Park Ave.) and the Murray City Senior Recreation Center (10 E. 6150 South) or online at www.murraycity.smashpass.com/.