DHS comedy a tribute to jazz musicals

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

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DeKalb High School presents a comedy filled with every cliche, gag and gimmick from the golden age of musicals in its spring musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

The show is an homage to the American musical of the Jazz Age. The story revolves around one man’s adoration of a fictional musical comedy from 1928. The Man in Chair is a mousy, agoraphobic Broadway fanatic who is seeking a cure to his “non-specific sadness.” As he listens to his rare recording, he is transported into the musical.

The plot of the show-within-a-show centers around Janet Vandegraff, a glamorous showgirl who has decided to leave the spotlight behind for love. The story is set during the week of her wedding and examines Janet’s decision to give up her career for her oil-tycoon fiance and her manager’s devastation at her leaving the show. Watching from his armchair, The Man in Chair is torn between his desire to absorb every moment of the show as it unfolds and his need to insert his personal footnotes – extensive but trivial knowledge of the musical as well as its performers. The ensuing plot incorporates mistaken identities, dream sequences, spit takes, an unflappable English butler, quick-witted gangsters disguised as pastry chefs, an absent-minded dowager, a ditzy chorine, a bumbling Latin Lothario, an aviatrix, a harried best man and Janet’s “drowsy” (i.e. “tipsy”) chaperone.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the DHS auditorium, 501 W. Dresser Road in DeKalb. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students, children and seniors and are available at the door. Students at DHS and DeKalb middle schools are admitted free with their student ID.

The cast includes DHS students Danny Lamansky, Allison Duffin, Tom Hagaman, Matt Petersen, Evan Taylor, Jake Mass, Lauren Cliffe, Matt Callahan, Jesse Heinsohn, Avery Maxwell, Lauren Zelaya, Nelle Conley, Olivia Johnson-Smith and Dennes Spyratos. Other performers include Sean Connors, Jon Doty, Will Ferguson, Rory Gallagher, Gabe Ihm, Augi Jesmer, Zhouri Ni, Dylan Schweitzer, Isabella Anderson, Laurel Becker, Jaime Briner, Amy Clark, Melissa Deball, Sarah Duffin, Hannah Hart, Sarah Jesmer, Kristin Johnson, Jaycee Mattis, Paulina Morales, Rachel Petersen, Andrea Ruiz, Kit Sawyer, Veronica Sherman and Tasia Spyratos.

The production is led by music director Travis Erikson, stage director Michael Apperson, assistant director Daniel’e Apperson, choreographer Ashlie Andersen, technical director Joseph Andersen and costume director Donna Schultz-Xidis.

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