The Burrell High School Drama Club will perform “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a series of jazz-era musicals, Thursday through Saturday in the school auditorium.
Burrell music director Martin Connolly said the musical is an ideal venue to showcase the talents of eight to 10 students in starring roles.
“It’s a good show that’s a fun but also poignant musical,” Connolly said.
About fifty students take part in the production. About half are in the cast and the rest help build the sets and run the lighting and sound. Adult musicians will fill the orchestra pit.
The musical is a story within a story: A man who is a Broadway musical fan, but rarely leaves the house and suffers from ‘unspecific sadness’, listens to a recording of a show called ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ . The musical comes to life in his apartment, in all its camping glory. The 2006 Broadway production won five Tony Awards, including Best Original Score.
“We live in a time where people have a lot of non-specific anxiety and we all use music, TV and movies to cope,” Connolly said. To that end, he added, the musical is light-hearted and provides a feel-good experience. Plus, the musical isn’t mainstream and doesn’t get the attention that “The Little Mermaid” would get.
Zack Jones, 18, senior, plays the central character (referred to, simply, as “Man in Chair”). This is his eighth show. Jones started out on the drama club‘s technical team, and in his sophomore year moved into acting.
“The whole show is a character study of the man in the chair,” Jones said. “He is really anxious, but a joker. It’s a very interesting comedy.
The musical gave Jones a chance to delve deep into the title character.
“It’s the most interesting I’ve played so far,” he said.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” is the 17th stage production for Georgia Brothers, 18, senior. Her background includes productions at the Summer Theater Workshop at Penn State New Kensington.
She plays the character of Janet Van De Graaff, a capable woman featured in the production. The brothers admired his character’s confidence.
“Playing this role slowly brought me out of my shell,” she said.
The musical is full of personalities on stage.
“It’s cool to put it all together and make it into a comedy,” she said.
The role could be Brothers’ last for a while, she said, as she prepares to graduate this year.
“The most important thing to me on all shows is the relationships I’ve made,” she said.