The Drowsy Chaperone by Ridley High School in Folsom, PA
May 12, 2020
Review submitted by Clara Steege of Conestoga High School
For those who wish to do more than just “stumble along” through life comes Ridley High School’s zestful production of The Drowsy Chaperone! Their show proves the invigorating power of musical theater and evokes its ability to vitalize audiences. Filled with humor and fun, this musical is sure to leave an audience feeling energized.
The Drowsy Chaperone, which debuted in 1998, is a classic example of a show within a show. The story begins in a living room, where the Man in Chair invites the audience to listen to the soundtrack of his favorite 1920’s musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, which depicts the wedding day of Robert Martin and famed Broadway actress Janet Van De Graff. To his delight, the characters materialize in his home and he is swept up by the drama as a series of mishaps, including the inattention of Janet’s alcoholic Chaperone, begins to threaten the marriage.
Proving the magic of theater, Ridley’s performance of The Drowsy Chaperone wowed with exceptional energy and professionalism.
Ethan McKellar presided over the show as the endearingly awkward Man in Chair. Through his skillful delivery of humor and consistent characterization, he effectively broke the fourth wall to engage with the audience. Equally impressive was the vocal talent displayed by both Mackenzie Cannon (Janet Van De Graff) and Grace Ireland (The Drowsy Chaperone). While each of their performances highlighted their strong voices, they also elevated their characters with excellent acting. Cannon’s over-the-top dramatism communicated Janet’s showy nature and Ireland’s easy wit conveyed the Chaperone’s laid-back approach.
Joey Kovach, as Adolpho the seductive ladies’ man, stole the show with his strong accent, passion, and vocal talent. Tyler Motslaz (George) and Cole Burwell (Robert Martin), impressed with their skilled tap dancing, mastering difficult choreography with ease and showmanship. Also a talented dancer, Lindsey McCue made an impression with her hilarious portrayal of the ditzy Kitty, an optimistic up-and-coming actress. And the Gangsters, played by Amanda Fusco and Gabby Fusco, had the audience in stitches with their excellent comedic timing and hilarious synchronized dance moves.
Complementing the actors’ vibrant performance was an array of immaculate technical elements. Props by Cole Burwell, Amanda Fusco, and Gabrielle Fusco added depth to the stage, allowing it to simultaneously embody a modern-day home and a 1920’s musical set. The Ridley Drama Group Pit Orchestra played the challenging score with expertise, further enhancing the performance. Also, the lighting and sound were both executed without a flaw to make for a very polished show.
Ridley’s production was definitely “lovely in the end” with a spectacular cast and crew that allowed the show to realize its full potential.
Review submitted by Elizabeth Joslin of Haverford High School
Don your “Fancy Dress” and raise a glass of “Ice Water” to Ridley High School’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone.
The show, written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, originally premiered in 1998 in Toronto and moved to Broadway in May of 2006. The musical masterpiece follows the Man In Chair as he plays the record of his favorite show, The Drowsy Chaperone. A ridiculous tangle of weddings, gangsters, and show business all comes to life in the Man In Chair’s living room, as he expresses a deep connection to the musical’s many motifs.
Ridley High School delivered an intoxicating production, leaving audience members enthralled with the lavish lifestyle of the roaring 20s.
“I hate theatre,” exclaimed Ethan McKellar as the Man in Chair. From his first words on stage, McKellar enchanted the audience with his captivating monologues and his sheepish personality. He led the audience through The Drowsy Chaperone with grace and an unmatched emotional maturity. His counterparts electrified the stage. Mackenzie Cannon played a flawless Janet Van De Graff, displaying a magnificent vocal range in songs like “Show Off” and “Bride’s Lament.” Grace Ireland was also impressive as The Chaperone, delivering a breathtaking performance of “Stumble Along.”
Small but mighty, the ensemble exhibited great vocal energy throughout the entire production. Standouts included Joey Kovach as Adolpho, whose comedic timing was impeccable, and Lindsey McCue as Kitty, who added charming levity to the stage. But perhaps one of the show’s most stunning moments was the elaborate tap sequence performed by Cole Burwell and Tyler Motslaz as Robert and George during “Cold Feets.”
The technical elements were all of professional quality. The sound team, led by Danny Lynch and Julia Santangelo, produced crystal clear sound. The unsung hero of the show, however, was the Ridley Drama Group Pit Orchestra. Although at times overpowering, the orchestra captured the true essence of the jazzy style the musical calls for.
Ridley High School’s The Drowsy Chaperone was a triumph. While the story “Stumbled Along,” it was certainly “Lovely in the End.”