From the February 2019 Desktop News | Prepare yourself for an immersive and glitzy trip into the past. UA’s theatre program is preparing to present their rendition of beloved musical theatre classic, The Drowsy Chaperone, with faculty director Stacy Alley and technical director Randy deCelle at the helm.
Originally conceived as a parody riffing on old-fashioned musical theatre, The Drowsy Chaperone follows the story of the quirky narrator, Man in Chair, seeking to cure his “non-specific sadness” by revisiting his favorite musical comedy as it bursts to life within the confines of his living room.
“Packed full of gimmicks, clichés, and gags, The Drowsy Chaperone is an homage, a valentine if you will, that captures the spirit of the carefree age of the 1920s by celebrating Gershwin-era musicals as well as the restorative powers of theatre,” Alley said. “As a director, I am drawn to The Drowsy Chaperone because, at its core, it has heart as is evident in the emotional journey of its narrator, Man in Chair.”
In addition to the performances that will be held in the Marian Gallaway Theatre, the cast and crew will take the show on tour to audiences in Montgomery, Alabama, for a performance at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre on February 26. The Montgomery performance is sponsored by Jim and Ed Klingler and Alfa Insurance.
“When considering potential shows, the touring and remounting at a different venue is part of the decision process,” deCelle said. “There are some shows that have extraordinary scenic requirements that are considered essential elements of any version of the production. However, if we are able to come up with a version of a production that works within our current venue of the Gallaway Theatre, we should be able to make it work for most any other space considered for this type of tour.”
From a creative perspective, director Stacy Alley is no stranger to the preparation needed for a successful execution of touring a show.
“Creatively, the most challenging aspect of taking a show like this on the road is the adjustment necessary to successfully transfer it to a new and bigger venue,” Alley said. “The stage is bigger, the house itself is bigger, the audience is different, but we’ve got to maintain the show we’ve created.”
But with hundreds of hours of nightly rehearsals under their belt, the challenge seems to have evoked a collective sense of excitement to take on the endeavor.
“The opportunity to facilitate the real-world experience of picking up a show and moving it to a location that the cast has never seen is something we, as students, are insurmountably lucky to experience,” said Kyle Van Frank, senior theatre major and cast member. “When accompanied with hard work and team-driven support, we have the opportunity to learn far more than we could ever expect, and that is invaluable.”
Performances of The Drowsy Chaperone will be held in Tuscaloosa at the Marian Gallaway Theatre from Monday, February 18 to Saturday, February 23, and in Montgomery on Tuesday, February 26. Tickets for the Tuscaloosa performances can be purchased online at ua.tix.com. Tickets for the Montgomery performance can be purchased at mpaconline.org.