Life Should Be Like A Musical

By on March 5, 2016

DrowsyVHS-5Or so I might wish. The “Man in the Chair”, the main character of The Drowsy Chaperone definitely wishes it were so. You WILL wish it as well if you see the VHS Spotlight Players production of The Drowsy Chaperone at Verona High School. (But you’ll have to do it quickly, the show closes tonight.)

The musical is the final production of Fran Young, who will be retiring in June and with this show she is going out on a high note. Teaching English at VHS since 1977, she took over the direction of the school’s drama productions in 2012. In those four years she has overseen both plays and musicals, all which have been outstanding, but The Drowsy Chaperone is her finest hour.DrowsyVHS-8

Full disclosure: I had Mrs. Young as an English teacher. (A fact that I will be forever thankful for; I regret that my son will not have the opportunity.) I was also active in the school’s theater productions. I wish they had been as well thought out and directed. Of course perhaps “back then” there were not quite as many gifted and talented students. The strength of the current production of The Drowsy Chaperone is the vast amount of talent that appears on the stage (as well as in orchestra pit and behind the scenes). In my day finding enough males to fill the required roles was a challenge; the current cast of The Drowsy Chaperone does not appear to have such problem. Back in the day, the male cast members had to be coerced into participating; talent and a desire to be on stage were not part of the equation. This is obviously no longer the case, each leading male shone in his own way. I shouldn’t leave out the ladies either as each and every one played their role to near perfection. As a matter of fact, there is so many talented students on stage that I wished there were more roles, or more time for each character to appear on stage. (But as the Man in the Chair points out, anything over two hours is too much.)DrowsyVHS-6

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The show itself is ideal for a high school production. The main character, Man in the Chair, seems to be somewhat of an agoraphobic, shutting himself into his apartment, passing the time by listening to his beloved cast recordings of old Broadway shows. He puts on his favorite, The Drowsy Chaperone and the show comes to life before him and us. He stops and starts the recording to make his observations on the characters and the actors portraying them, as well as adding his own commentary and criticisms and through the magic of theater sometimes joins in. The show within the show, The Drowsy Chaperone is a fictional over-the-top 1920s musical which gives every actor a chance to play their part to the hilt. And the VHS Spotlight Players do. What is so wonderful about the production is that while the leading characters shine in their madness, so do the members of the chorus, particularly at the conclusion of the show. (No spoilers here.)

The only complaint I might have about the show is that it is only running at VHS for three nights, and tonight, Saturday, is the last one. It is obvious that much hard work has gone into the show and it is worth seeing more than once. Yes, the show and it performers ARE that good.Drowsy-VHS2

The Spotlight Players have a great deal to be proud of. Verona should be proud too; it is obvious that we have a very large pool of talented actors and musicians. As for Mrs. Young, you’ve set the bar exceedingly high for whoever takes over as director of the VHS Spotlight Players next year.

If you have the chance to get to VHS tonight, GO! Tonight’s performance is at 7:30 and is only $10 ($8 for students and senior citizens). I guarantee an evening of laughter and you might even wake up the next morning (as I did) singing “Show Off.”Drowsy-VHS1

THE CAST (in order of appearance)
Man in the Chair: Dan Messineo
Mrs. Tottendale: Alana Murphy
Underling: Matthew Masucci
Robert: Henry Noren
George: Owen Yarmo-Gray
Feldzieg: Joseph Anello
Kitty: Katie Fernandez
Gangster #1: Patrick Citrano
Gangster #2: Carla Bello
Gangster #3: Rayna Newkirk
Gangster #4: Rachelle Smith
Aldolpho: Nick Kast
Janet: Mia Corbett
Drowsy Chaperone: Arianne Valderrama
Trix: Carina Mitchell
Reporter #1: David Karpinski
Reporter #2: Colin Vega
Nightingale soloist: Maya Fortgang
Nightingale duet: Grace Gault and Anna Shea
Elocutionist: Star Kent-Finnegan
Superintendent: Anthony Giuliano

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Featured Singers: Phillip Beben, Brendan De Leon. Gabriella Gabriel, Grace Gault, Giulia Licitra, Molly Ligon, Amy Renzulli, Amma Shea, Colin Vega

Ensemble: Liz Barile, Maya Fortgang, David Karpinski, Star Kent- Finnegan, Emma Kubacki, Kim Sacchi, Anna Serra, Jessica Spinelli, Ava Vasalani, Rachel Weir, Laren Zanders

Understudies: Phillip Beben (George), Patrick Citrano (Underling), Brendan De Leon (Feldzieg), Maya Fortgang (Janet), Grace Gault (Kitty), Anthony Giuliano (Man in the Chair), David Karpinski (Aldolpho), Amy Renzulli (Trix), Anna Shea (Drowsy Chaperone), Rachelle Smith (Tottendale), Colin Vega (Robert)

Pit Band
Conductor/Keyboards: Marsha Schreier
Flute: Emily Sime
Clarinet: Kitty Pagano
Clarinet: Isabella Williams
Trumpet: Austin Yee
Trumpet: Mark Walsh
Trombone: Micolas Slawski
Bass: Dino Calandra
Percussion: Brooke Harrington
Drums: Seamus Elliott

Production and Crew
Stage Manager: Miranda Williams
Assistant Stage Manager: Rinn Posner
Lighting Director: Ryan Vail
Lighting Crew: Nick Siclari, Natalie Hull, Carleigh Hoimark
Props: Abby Pope, Dani Smith
Sound: Concert Audio
Costumes: On Cue Costumes
Promotional Design: Joe Anello
Publicity: Kristin Shea
Running Crew: Veronica Wertz, Dan Frey, Dani Smith, Dom Gamarro, Connor Silvia, Sally Short, Jonathan Mottola, Dylan Gallagher, Yamin Awad,, Maeve McGinley, Kayla Golebieski, Jenna Gibson
Costumes: Shannon Lawless, Olivia Wynn, Diana Ednie
Set Build: Liz Kenlan, Holly Studwell, Dan Ligon, Ian Ziolkowski, Alex Ziolkowski
Scenic Painting: Kerry Metzger, Rinn Posner

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Copyright 2016 MyVeronaNJ

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