The Kelly Critics is a joint program of the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musicals, in which students at Kelly schools review musicals at other Kelly schools.
When walking into Bishop Canevin to see “The Drowsy Chaperone,” you expect to hear fun songs to sing-a-long with and some amazing dance moves, and I did; but I did not expect to see such a tribute to The Jazz Age.
As the lights go down and the show begins, the first words heard, also not expected, are, ”I HATE MUSICALS!” This is said by one of the main characters, The Man in Chair (played by Cory Ziller), but it is still unknown because the lights are down.
Once the lights come on, you see Ziller sitting in a chair on the far left of the stage. Ziller’s performance was simply amazing, flabbergasting even. He was quirky, funny, and enthusiastic.
Man does his monologue giving a little background information and introducing his favorite musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He pulls out the record from his bookshelf and puts it on. This is when the musical begins
Man encourages you to close your eyes, asking you to fall in love with the musical just he did.
The whole plot is somewhat hard to follow, but yet easy to understand. A showgirl named Janet van de Graff, played by Hannah O’Toole, is set to be married to an oil tycoon named Robert Martin, played by Noah Boynes Lheureau. They are to have a nice country wedding when things start to go the wrong way. There are breakups, makeups and a few get togethers that would not have been expected, random spit-takes, and some lighting issues, but in the end, there is one giant wedding where everyone says, “I do, I do,” in the sky, on a biplane.
With all that being said, the plot is not that important. “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a musical ode to The Jazz Age, and it is just simply to make you laugh, and students at Bishop Canevin do just that. There is not one scene in the whole musical that keeps you from giggling. Each character has a different funny story, and each character performs the story amazingly.
One of the first characters you meet is Mrs. Tottendale, portrayed by Samantha Kelsch, and she is a funny old woman full of life and just a little forgetful sometimes. When Mrs. Totendale is usually accompanied by the Butler, played by Patrick Bernauer, a quick-witted servant who loves his job and Mrs. Tottendale. Another quick-to-answer character is the Amazing Kitty. Kitty played by Dominique Servati, is a spunky, funny blond.
When you meet the "Latin Lover,” Aldolpho, there is nothing you can do but laugh. Alec Balog played this Latin Lover down to the letter. Balog’s role was to seduce Janet and try to break up the wedding. He ends up seducing who plays the Drowsy Chaperone (played by the wonderful Allison Killen), another person who does nothing but make you laugh when she is on stage.
Aldolpho and the Chaperone are two different characters in almost every way except that they are both extremely funny. When the Chaperone is on stage, she usually is stumbling a little bit, martini glass in hand and a smirk on face. She is just funny all around. It is her slow movements and stumbles that bring out the comedy in her character. Aldolpho, on the other hand, runs across the stage singing his name in a high voice, in a low voice, fast and slow. Both characters balance each other very well, which is why they are very funny apart but hilarious together.
A tribute to The Jazz Age, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a musical full of laughter and fun. Random spit-takes for about five minutes, a fun blonde who is to be the next famous fortune teller, two gangsters who can give you a nice “Toledo surprise” -- all encompass this musical. There are breakups by a French girl who really is the bride, four marriages on top of a biplane, a Latin Lover and, of course, a Drowsy Chaperone. There were no dull moments. Bishop Canevin put on a great show, and had an amazing set to help bring it all together, and, of course, who can forget the “poo-poo platter of show tunes” that went along with it.
Reviews are edited by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson. For more high school musicals coverage, go to http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/ and scroll down.