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Reston Community Players The Drowsy Chaperone

By • Oct 19th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Drowsy Chaperone
Reston Community Players
Reston Community Center, Reston, VA
Through November 5th
$21/$18 Seniors and Juniors
Reviewed October 15th, 2011

The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical with Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Featuring a die-hard musical theater fan, the “Man-in-the-Chair,” who plays his favorite cast album and speaks directly to the audience as the musical literally bursts to life in his living room. He shares many trivial facts about the performers while he is sharing the show with us.

This upbeat dynamic production managed to keep the audience engaged with laughter forthcoming. The cast for the most part was upbeat and full of pep. There were no mics used, but everyone could be heard clearly. The orchestra was under the stage and this perhaps kept the sound balanced so that the musicians did not drown out the singers and dancers.

The Man in Chair is played by Andrew JM Regiec. He was able to break that fourth wall well and engage the audience. His love for “his” musical was quite evident as he sat in his chair and smiled and tapped his foot to the music. He knowledge of the back-story of the actors showed that he has taken the time to learn about the people. Despite his supposed superiority, The Man in Chair was quite likable.

Everyone else (except for the Superintendent) in the show was a performer in the The Drowsy Chaperone. Jennifer Lambert as the title role was tasked to keep Janet Van De Graaff away from her fiancé prior to the wedding, which she did not do real well. Lambert was quite smooth and worldly. Her voice as well as that of all the singers was strong. She seemed more interested in keeping her glass full than keeping an eye on Janet. Janet Van De Graaff meanwhile was having troubles of her own. Played by Colleen Arnold, Van De Graaff seemed easily swayed and not too bright. Her world seemed quite happy until her blindfolded fiancé Robert Martin (Daniel McKay) made a pass at who he thought was a French girl. Martin, the constant smiler, over played the role well. As did Adolpho, the lover, who wooed as many women as possible. He was equally as smooth and slick as the Drowsy Chaperone. He was played by John Loughney and made his part come alive by staying in character, talking to the person next to him or playing with his cane, even when he had no lines. This kept his character fresh.

Some really great set pieces and smooth transitions made for an animated evening. Set Designers Andrew LM Regiec and Skip Larson made the stage very bright by using bright colors, which helped differentiate the show from the Man’s home. The set was creative, with a few surprises in store, such as the hideaway bed, walk-in refrigerator, and walls that disappeared. Costume designers Charlotte Marson and Judy Welihan used equally bright colors appropriate for the time period. Lots of color was used to match each character. Even the Drowsy Chaperone in her black set a message about the prohibition era.

A solid performance of a show for all who love musical theatre.

Director’s Notes

Who doesn’t love to escape from reality for awhile? Every performer and production member you see this evening is here seeking some form of escape. Why, even you are sitting in that very seat because you desire escape from reality for a couple of hours (because 3 hours is too much)! Whether it is a theatrical production, a movie, painting, dancing, reading, or playing a sport, we all desire a means of escape. For our Man in Chair love of all things musical theatre is his means of distraction, and this evening we invite you to join us on his journey as he listens to his recording of The Drowsy Chaperone.

While you are here, forget your worries, the babysitter has everything under control and Mom is doing just fine. That email will still be there when the show is over, and you’re probably just going to regret that tweet anyway. Instead, disappear with us into the decadent world of the 1920’s. Lose yourself as you watch blindfolded roller skating, smoking feet, airplanes falling from the sky, and some of the fastest costume changes witnessed on stage.

Many thanks to everyone who has been a part of this production. A director is only as good as the people he works with and I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most amazing people in community theatre. I especially thank my mentor AJMR. Not only have I learned (and stolen) from you, but you had faith in me to direct you. That means more than you know. Thanks to a cast willing to make a “new choice,” Eileen for keeping me on track; Mark for the glorious music that 15 rehearsals will provide; Andrea for being so cooperative and easy to work with; Sara and Skip for 16 foot walls, Murphy beds, and smoking feet; Charlotte and Judy for fast costume changes; and Rick for trusting me with your baby. JL, I hope this is what you had in mind.

Leave your troubles at the door, escape with us and enjoy the Drowsy Chaperone!

Joshua Redford, Director

Photo Gallery

Robert (Danny McKay) and Janet Van de Graff (Colleen Arnold) Kitty (Malinda Markland)
Robert (Danny McKay) and Janet Van de Graff (Colleen Arnold)
Kitty (Malinda Markland)
Feldzieg (Buz Gibson) The Pastry Chefs (Tomas Huntley, left; Michael McAdoo, right)
Feldzieg (Buz Gibson)
The Pastry Chefs (Tomas Huntley, left; Michael McAdoo, right)
Robert, the Bride Groom (Danny McKay) and the Best Man, George (Mark Hidalgo)
Robert, the Bride Groom (Danny McKay) and the Best Man, George (Mark Hidalgo)

Photos by Sue Pinkman

Cast

  • Man in Chair: Andrew JM Regiec
  • Mrs. Tottendale: Barbara Wilson
  • Underling: Richard Durkin
  • Robert Martin: Daniel McKay
  • George: Mark Hildalgo
  • Feldzig: Buz Gibson
  • Kitty: Malinda Markland
  • Gangster #1: Tomas Huntley
  • Gangster #2: Michael McAdoo
  • Adolpho: John Loughney
  • Janet Van De Graaff: Colleen Arnold
  • The Drowsy Chaperone: Jennifer Lambert
  • Trix the Aviatrix: KJ Jacks
  • Superintendent: Kevin Gunn
  • Ensemble: Blake Green, Kevin Gunn, Michael Lynch, Dean Maldonato, Erica Nicole, Amanda Russell

Orchestra

  • Music Director/Conductor: Mark V. Deal
  • Reeds: Mitch Bassman, Brian Cole, Randy Dahlberg, Allen Howe, Howard McCullers, Mila Weiss
  • Trumpets: Mike Barber, Brian W. Morton, Jose Luis Oviedo, Nicholas Sandifer
  • Trombones: Rick Schutz, Ryan Shofnos
  • Keyboards: Matt Jeffrey, Walter McCoy, Billie Whittaker
  • Bass: Richard Netherton

Production Staff

  • Producer: Rick Schneider
  • Director: Joshua Redford
  • Company Manager: Laura Baughman
  • Stage Manager: Eileen Mullee
  • Asst. Stage Manager: Sara Birkhead
  • Music Director: Mark V. Deal
  • Choreographer: Andrea Heininge
  • Set Designers: Andrew JM Regiec and Skip Larson
  • Master Carpenter: Sara Birkhead
  • Set Construction and Painting: Laurie Goldberg, Randy Newton, George Lingg, Peggy Suarez, Tim Hinton, Larry Sadler, Leslie Tanner, David Johnson
  • Set Decoration: Bea and Jerry Morse, Barbara Wilson
  • Set Painting: Cathy Rieder, Sabrina Begley, Maggie Cotter
  • Properties Acquisition: Mary Jo Ford
  • Lighting Design: Ken and Patti Crowley
  • Master Electrician: Ian Claar
  • Sound Design: Richard Bird
  • Costume Design: Charlotte Marson and Judy Whelihan
  • Wardrobe Mistress: Daryl Miles
  • Dressers: Carol Steele, Mary Rankin
  • Seamstresses: Kati Andresen, Val Cantor, Susan Hinton, Barbara King, Mary Rankin
  • Hair/Wigs/Make-up Design: Jaclyn Young
  • Running Crew Chief: Sara Birkhead
  • Head Flyman: Laura Baughman
  • Running Crew: David Johnson, Timothy Hinton, Peggy Suarez
  • Light Board Operator: Ian Claar and Michael O’Connor
  • Sound Board Operator: Richard Bird, Rich Claar
  • Head Shots: Jaclyn Young
  • Show Photography: Joe Douglass
  • Playbill Design/Production: Ginger Kohles

Disclaimer: Reston Community Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. RCP also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

One Response »

  1. Your statement that “the musicians did not drown out the singers and dancers” promulgates a common fallacy — that singers are not musicians. The correct satement would be that “the instruments did not drown out the singers and dancers.” Please keep that in mind for further reviews.

    Thanks,
    A sensitive singer