By Rachel Anderson EBS Contributor
BIG SKY – Performed on stage at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on May 26 and May 27, “The Drowsy Chaperone” was Big Sky Broadway’s third high school production.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” is an American musical comedy set in the 1920s with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and based on the book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar.
This year’s cast included 15 Lone Peak High School students, many of which are veterans of the high school musical.
Founded by producer Barbara Rowley, director John Zirkle, Klaudia Kosiak and Anna Middleton in 2009 as a division of Camp Big Sky, Big Sky Broadway is the community’s only youth theater company. While Rowley handles behind-the-scenes logistics, she lauds Zirkle’s ability to manage a production.
“John is the artistic visionary who conceives of and executes thematic approaches to each show,” Rowley said. “I handle all the mechanics.”
Dasha Bough, an LPHS junior, opened the show as the Man in Chair, a middle-aged, introverted musical theater fan who plays the record of his favorite production: “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a fictitious 1928 musical comedy.
“When I discovered ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’ I could tell it was a show that met every parameter I have,” Rowley said. “A small ensemble cast, easier sets, props and costumes, and, perhaps most importantly, I only had to have three men.”
The show came to life on the WMPAC stage telling the tale of a Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married. The plot twists as her producer sets out to sabotage the nuptials, sending a Latin lover to seduce the bride who mistakenly discovers her tipsy chaperone instead. The debonair groom and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs thicken the complexity in this parody.
Watching from his armchair, Man in Chair brings the audience in and out of the fantasy as they listen to the musical on an old LP record.
“Our goal is always to give as many kids as possible time on stage, which is why we also double cast the lead roles in our summer show,” Rowley said.
Program alumni have gone on to study music and theatrical production at the university level, but most credit the experience with creating lasting friendships, improving confidence and sparking creativity in many areas.
Rowley said that Big Sky Broadway is grateful for the support and guidance from Camp Big Sky, which is run by the Big Sky Community Organization.
When the curtain came down at WMPAC on May 27, it was obvious the audience appreciated the comedic chops of the LPHS performers as the theater was filled with laughter and a lengthy applause.