GREENFIELD – We all have that favorite show we love to talk about. In the Broadway musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” presented by CrazyLake Acting Co. this month, a theater fan shares an old show he loves, and it magically comes to life in his living room as he details his favorite scenes.
It’s an ambitious show, with a cast of more than 20 men and women who sing, dance and act in a musical within a comedy. But it was an easy choice for CrazyLake founder and Daily Reporter arts and entertainment editor Christine Schaefer, who said when considering what musical to stage, she and music director Amy Studabaker found ‘Drowsy’ at the top of both their wish lists.
For one of the most important roles, the Man in Chair — who is our narrator and guide through the mythical musical — they cast CrazyLake veteran Trever Brown.
And Brown shares their enthusiasm for the show.
“It’s kind of on my list of dream roles,” said Brown, who often leaps from his chair to freeze the action, giving audience members more detail about the characters and the actors who portray them. “I’m just attracted to the show; it’s a unique approach to a musical.”
The narrator often inserts himself in the scenery, reacting to the characters who can’t see him but — luckily, Brown said — he doesn’t get too involved in the musical numbers.
“…It’s perfect for me,” he said with a smile, “because I’m not that strong of a singer.”
Brown said that if he were in an easy chair as himself sharing a favorite show, it might still be “The Drowsy Chaperone” — “that,” he said, “or ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’”
The cast and crew is comprised of volunteers, most with connections to Greenfield, or at least past involvement in a CrazyLake show.
Siblings Carie and Ross McMichael play Mrs. Tottendale and her Underling, the servant she decides she might want as more than a butler.
It is the first time the Greenfield-Central alumni have been on stage together since 2010, they said. Even then, “we didn’t have much stage time together,” Ross McMichael said.
Carie said their own natural chemistry as lifelong friends as well as siblings aids their portrayal of two characters who fall in love (though — thankfully — with no kissing scenes, they add).
The youngest actor to grace the ‘Drowsy’ stage is Jake Hobbs of New Palestine, a rising senior at Cathedral High School. He admits being the youngster of this cast is a little intimidating.
“I’d been doing shows a while but not musicals,” Hobbs said. “(The others) have more experience, but they’ve been good about including me. In the end, we’re one cast.”
He portrays a movie producer who wants to stop the wedding of his biggest star (played by Elizabeth Orr) who plans to give up her life of glamour once she’s married.
Daily Reporter editor (and occasional actress) Noelle Steele plays the title Chaperone, watching over the bride-to-be, despite the fact the contents of her flask often make her too “drowsy” to take the task all that seriously. She’s joined by fellow DR staff writer Caitlin VanOverberghe, a member of the dance corps.
The show both celebrates and parodies old-time musicals with mistaken identities, dream sequences, physical comedy, a rousing anthem by the diva Chaperone and a deus ex machina. Its 2006 Broadway run was nominated for 13 Tonys, winning five.
The CrazyLake production runs 7:30 p.m. July 13, 14, 15 and 21, and 2:30 p.m. July 16 and 22, at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, 122 W. Main St. Tickets are $10 each, available at Hometown Comics, 1506 N. State St., or at crazylake.com.
IN THE CAST
Man in chair — Trever Brown
Mrs. Tottendale — Carie McMichael
Underling — Ross McMichael
Robert Martin — Austin Fisher
George — Matt Little
Feldzieg — Jake Hobbs
Kitty — Ali Kern
Gangster No. 1 — Corey Yeaman
Gangster No. 2 — Jim Vetters
Adolpho — Luke Agee
Janet Van De Graaf — Elizabeth Orr
Drowsy Chaperone — Noelle Steele
Trix the Aviatrix — Jamie McDowell
Superintendent — Chuck Marion
Dance Corps — Maggie Brown
Dance Corps — Rylie Gendron
Dance Corps — Erin Hays
Dance Corps — Caitlin
Dance Corps — Carolyn Voigt
Ensemble — Austin Baker
Ensemble — Frances Hull
Ensemble — Avi Hull
Ensemble — Chuck Marion