The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department kicks off its 2015-2016 mainstage season with the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, running October 28-November 7 at the Theatre Department’s Getz Theatre, 72 E. 11th St. in Chicago’s South Loop.
The Drowsy Chaperone, despite its title, is anything but drowsy. This lively, jazz-tinged, dance-packed show pays homage to American musicals of the 1920s Jazz Age, examining the effect musicals have on the fans who adore them. In its 2006 premiere run on Broadway, The Drowsy Chaperone won the Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Score, as well as Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Music, and Outstanding Lyrics.
With music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, the show concerns an agoraphobic Broadway fanatic who seeks to cure his “non-specific sadness” by listening to a recording of a fictional 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. As he listens to this rare recording, he is transported into the musical and the characters appear in his dingy apartment, transforming his life.
The Drowsy Chaperone is directed by faculty member Michael Ryczek, who teaches in the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department‘s directing program. Christie Kerr and Phil Caldwell, the choreographer and musical director respectively, teach in the Theatre Department’s musical theatre program. The cast and design team are all Columbia College Chicago students.
“The Drowsy Chaperone has been so much fun to explore musically,” says Caldwell. “The score is tuneful, animated, and filled with toe-tapping dance rhythms. A pastiche of musical styles from vaudeville and 1920’s jazz, it pays homage to pre-Golden Age musicals, and is reminiscent of music by such composers as George Gershwin and Cole Porter. The music also acts as the perfect complement to the absurd characters’ song lyrics. The cast has been amazing to work with, and remarkably dedicated to this project. They are very skillful and flexible singers, and have done an excellent job of bringing a variety of musical styles to life.”
The Drowsy Chaperone opens Wednesday, October 28, at 6:30 PM. Subsequent performances are Thursday-Friday, October 29-30, at 7:30 PM; Saturday, October 31, at 7 PM; Wednesday-Friday, November 4-6, at 7:30 PM; and a closing matinee Saturday, November 7, at 3:30 PM. For tickets, click here or call 312-369-8330.
Photos from rehearsals for “The Drowsy Chaperone” by Makena Metz.