NORMAN — A show-within-a-show, the University of Oklahoma Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre’s upcoming production is packed full of every gimmick and cliché from musicals of the 1920s jazz age.
“The Drowsy Chaperone,” the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, hits the stage 8 p.m. Feb. 14-15, 20-22 and 3 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Rupel J. Jones Theatre, 563 Elm St.
“I like musicals full of camp,” Director Lyn Cramer said, “and it is hilariously funny.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” opens with a Broadway fanatic sitting in a chair, in search for a cure to a sadness that has overcome him. He listens to a recording of the fictional 1928 musical comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and the characters suddenly appear in his apartment, transforming it into a glitzy Broadway set. The fictional musical focuses around the wedding day of an oil tycoon and Broadway star, who intends to give up her career for the married life.
Cramer has directed “The Drowsy Chaperone” once before. Even with one under her belt, Cramer said producing a musical is an all-consuming process every time. And with rehearsals every day of the week, it’s no cake walk for the cast either.
“Every single day is a complete and total joy,” Cramer said. “You have a unique situation where everyone rises to the challenge.”
Cramer said it is harder for college students than professionals to have a role in a production because students have to balance both school and show work. For Cramer, two students who have more than proved their abilities to rise to the challenge are junior Kassiani Menas and senior Jacob Chancellor.
Menas will be playing the role of the drowsy chaperone, an alcoholic who is chaperoning a bride to keep her from her husband until her wedding day. Chancellor will be playing the role of Aldolpho, a self-proclaimed famed Latin lover.
The dynamic duo were specifically selected for these roles because of the chemistry they displayed during auditions, Cramer said.
Though Menas said she has been surrounded by musical theater her whole life, this is her first time in a major role.
“Honestly, I spend a lot of time in front of my mirror,” Menas said. “I am constantly thinking of the show. I go to bed thinking of different ways I can go about saying my lines.”
For Chancellor, this isn’t his first go round performing in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He worked with Cramer the first time she directed the show.
“We have to be a little bit insane to do what we’re doing,” Chancellor said. “It is tough, but being so busy means you don’t have the opportunity to really waste any time.”
The pair both said their anticipation for the show to open grows each day. Chancellor said his favorite part of the production is the audience interaction.
“The show is not complete without the audience,” Chancellor said. “It really feels like something is missing until they are actually there.”
Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 senior adult, OU faculty and staff, and military, and $15 for students. To purchase tickets call or visit the OU Fine Arts Box Office at 405-325-4101, located at 500 W. Boyd St. in the Catlett Music Center.
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