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Hilariously Charming Musical Comedy ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ Closes Out Weathervane Playhouse’s 77th Season!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 2:40:00 PM

Weathervane Playhouse closes its 77th Mainstage season with the hilariously charming musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. This heartfelt spoof of old-time Broadway musicals is presented live on stage between June 14 and July 8, 2012. The production is directed and choreographed by Gwen Arment with musical direction by John Ebner.

The show begins when a lonely musical-theater fan – known only as Man in Chair – seeks to cure his "non-specific sadness" by listening to the original cast recording of his favorite Broadway musical from the late 1920s, a fictional smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone. As the needle drops on his record player, the Jazz Age-era show and its wacky cast of characters suddenly come to life in his dumpy apartment! It’s a hilarious show-within-a-show packed with musical and comedic delights!

Winner of five 2006 Tony Awards – including best score and best book – The Drowsy Chaperone is a delightful valentine to Broadway musicals of old, complete with loveable stock characters.

The Drowsy Chaperone introduces us to Janet Van De Graaff, a young Broadway starlet about to be married. There’s her harried producer, Mr. Feldzieg, who’s eager to stop the nuptials. Attached to the producer is a dizzy chorus girl. We also meet the handsome and carefree bridegroom, his tap-dancing best man, two gangsters pretending to be pastry chefs, a conceited Latin song-and-dance man, an aviatrix, and a daffy rich woman and her foppish butler. And then there’s the vampish, slightly older – and slightly tipsy! – woman known as The Drowsy Chaperone, who’s supposed to be keeping an eye on the blushing bride!

Against this Roaring ‘20s backdrop, hilarity ensues as The Drowsy Chaperone serves up clever songs and a gleeful story about love and marriage – complete with all the witty post-modern asides interjected by Man in Chair, who comments on the action with witty asides as his favorite musical magically unspools in his apartment.

Weathervane’s The Drowsy Chaperone Performance and Ticket Information

The Drowsy Chaperone plays on the Weathervane Playhouse Founders Theater stage between June 14 and July 8, 2012.

The low-cost preview performance is Thursday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m.; the official opening-night performance is Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m.

Between June 14 and July 8, 2012, the performance days and times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for the June 14 preview performance only (at 7:30 p.m.) are $18 each. Tickets for performances after June 14 are $24 each.

$21 tickets for seniors are available for Thursday and Sunday performances. Tickets for children (ages 17 or younger) and college students are $5 each at all performances. Additional discounts for groups of 12 or larger are also available.

The Weathervane Playhouse Box Office is open Mondays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and is also open beginning one hour before each performance. For tickets, visit or call the Weathervane Box Office at (330) 836-2626 during Box Office hours or connect online to www.weathervaneplayhouse.com.

The Drowsy Chaperone Cast and their Ohio Residences

Patrick Michael Dukeman (of Copley) plays the role of Man in Chair

Amanda Davis (of Akron) plays the role of The Drowsy Chaperone

Molly Weidig (of Jackson Township) plays the role of Janet Van De Graaff

Scott Miesse (of Strongsville) plays the role of Robert Martin

Shane Hurst (of Stow) plays the role of George

Ryan Bergeron (of Akron) plays the role of Aldolpho

Karen L. Wood (of Creston) plays the role of Mrs. Tottendale

Al Klesh (of Akron) plays the role of Underling

Henry C. Bishop (of Creston) plays the role of Feldzieg

Michelle Rae Chaho (of Cuyahoga Falls) plays the role of Kitty

Sarah Elaine Bailey (of Cuyahoga Falls) plays the role of Trix

Jonathan Merechant (of Akron) plays the role of Gangster

Daniel O’Donnell (of Copley) plays the role of Gangster

Mike Groom (of Barberton) plays the role of The Superintendent

Brittany Dolinar (of Akron) is a member of the Ensemble

Johnny Luoma (Akron) is a member of the Ensemble

Katie O’Conner (of Uniontown) is a member of the Ensemble

Adam Vigneault (of Medina) is a member of the Ensemble

The Drowsy Chaperone Backstage Team and their Ohio Residences

Stage Manager – Jason Bryan Maurer (of Akron)

Sound Designer – Casey Jones (of Bay Village)

Lighting Designer – Brandon Davies (of Stow)

Properties Co-Designers – Todd Dieringer (of Wadsworth), Jen Draher (of North Canton) and Jamie Oriti (of Akron)

Costume Designer – Jasen J. Smith (of Akron)

Scenic Designer/Technical Director – Alan Scott Ferrall (of Cuyahoga Falls)

Assistant Technical Director – Kathy Kohl (of Akron)

About the Show’s Director and Choreographer

GWEN ARMENT did her undergraduate work at the Indiana University School of Music in piano and voice and her Masters work in Theater History at Hunter College. She also studied at London’s National Theatre. Based in New York City, she performed there as well as on tour and in regional theaters before starting a career in producing, directing and teaching. In the New York area, she has directed at the Abingdon Theatre, Theatre 315, The Theatre Arts Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre (associate producer 1995), Broadway Theatre Institute for Musical Mondays Theatre Lab (artistic director 2002-2003) and The Century Center. Nationally, she also has directed at the South Jersey Regional Theater; Arundel Barn Playhouse in Maine; Charles Playhouse in Boston; Pennsylvania Stage Company; Mishler Theatre in Altoona, Pennsylvania; and at the Royal Palm Festival Theater in Florida, where she received Carbonell nominations for choreography and performing. At Ohio Northern University in 2010 and 2011 Gwen had the pleasure of directing and choreographing Urinetown and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She has also given master classes in musical theater at both ONU and Indiana University. As a teacher of professional actors, alongside guest faculty instructors from the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, she produced and taught Shakespeare workshops in New York City and at Western Connecticut State University. In addition, she instructed in piano and voice at Valparaiso University as well as theater history at Hunter College. In 2004, she co-founded and currently remains the artistic director and producer for Hell’s Kitchen Musicals (HKM), a company that develops new works with readings, staged readings and showcases. Most recently, HKM produced the new musical Peg O’ My Heart for New York City's 2011 Midtown International Theatre Festival. It won the award for best musical. Among the many celebrated artists with whom Gwen has worked are Gower Champion, Peter Gennaro, Donald Saddler, Christopher Hewitt, Bob Herget, Tommy Tune, George Faison and Ron Lagomarsino. When performing the role of Lola in Damn Yankees, Gwen danced Bob Fosse’s original choreography, having been taught and supervised by the original Lola, Gwen Verdon. When not directing or producing, Gwen teaches voice privately.

About the Show’s Production History and Adaptations

In 1997, several theater artists in Canada – Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison and several of their friends – created a satire of old musicals to present as a skit at the bachelor party for their fellow theatrical pal, Robert Martin, who was soon to be married. They called their show The Drowsy Chaperone. This first version of the show did not include the character of Man in Chair, but Martin was so enchanted by the spoof that he encouraged his friends to reshape it for a performance at the Toronto Fringe Festival. He also signed on as a co-writer of the show and he created the role of Man in Chair, which he played on stage at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 1999.

After the Fringe Festival, the creative team got a call from Canadian theatrical producer David Mirvish, who secured funding for an enlarged production of the show at Theatre Passe Muraille, a Toronto not-for-profit theater company with 160 seats. After good reviews and strong box office sales, the creative team and producers then mounted a full-scale production in 2001 at the 1,000-seat Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. By then, a team of Broadway producers had heard about this quirky little “show within a show” and they eventually secured the rights to produce the show in New York City. In 2004, the producing team arranged for a workshop reading of the show under the auspices of New York’s National Alliance for Musical Theatre – the success of which opened the door for additional funding to mount the show on Broadway.

After a pre-Broadway try-out at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in 2005, The Drowsy Chaperone opened on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis Theatre on May 1, 2006, where it would play for 674 performances before closing on Dec. 30, 2007. The New York production was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won five of them – including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. A London production – also starring Bob Martin as Man in Chair – opened in 2007, but closed after less than 100 performances. Across the globe, the show has been produced in Japan and Australia. Back home in America, two national tours of the show traveled from city to city across the United States between 2007 and 2009.

About the Show’s Creators

LISA LAMBERT (music and lyrics) is an actress, writer and composer who received the Tony Award for Best Original Score, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics for The Drowsy Chaperone. Her Canadian credits include Honest Ed: The Bargain Musical and Mirth at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto; Ouch My Toe at the Toronto Fringe Festival; The Irish Musical and People Park at the Rivoli, also in Toronto; An American in Harris at the Toronto Second City; and An Awkward Evening With Martin and Johnson at Toronto's Tim Sims Playhouse. On Canadian television, she has appeared on Slings & Arrows.

GREG MORRISON (music and lyrics) for his work on The Drowsy Chaperone received the Tony Award for Best Original Score, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music, the Outer Critics Circle Award and Backstage West Garland Award. In Canada, his credits include Hello...Hello at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto; Pochsy's Lips, Citizen Pochsy and Pochsy Unplugged at the Toronto Fringe Festival; Mumps and Smoot in Something Else and Mumps and Smoot in Flux for Toronto's Canadian Stage; An Awkward Evening with Martin and Johnson at the Tim Sims Playhouse and The Age of Dorian at the Atword Theatre also in Toronto. His television songwriting credits include Slings & Arrows and Getting Along Famously.

BOB MARTIN (book) is a Toronto comedian, actor and writer. He has performed in and also written many Canadian television shows. He performed the voice of "Cuddles," the comfort doll, on Puppets Who Kill, a TV show that aired from 2002 to 2006 on Canada’s Comedy Network. In addition to collaborating with Don McKellar on the book for The Drowsy Chaperone, he also starred as the Man in Chair in the Broadway production and also in the London production. For The Drowsy Chaperone, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Man and Chair and won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. Martin was one of the creator’s of Canada’s award-winning TV series Slings & Arrows.

DON McKELLAR (book) received the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for his book for The Drowsy Chaperone. He began his theatrical career when he co-founded Toronto's Augusta Company, with which he co-created six experimental plays. He has also worked in the realm of independent Canadian cinema. As screenwriter, he is credited (or co-credited) for Roadkill, Highway 61, Dance Me Outside, Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould and The Red Violin. For television he wrote and starred in the CBC-TV series Twitch City. As an actor he has appeared in a number of films, including Exotica, eXistenZ, When Night Is Falling, Clean, Waydowntown, The Red Violin, The Event and Monkey Warfare. He was also a regular on the Canadian TV series Slings & Arrows. 

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