The US returns to the stage with the The Drowsy Chaperone


John Severson

The cast surrounds Annika Brelsford during a musical number.

This pastweekend, the long-anticipated first in-person US spring musical in two years, The Drowsy Chaperone was showcased for three performances May 13-15. The show features a musical theater fan who shares her favorite musical. She uses her record player to awaken the show, introducing the audience to a showgirl who’s about to give up her career for marriage. The comical production encircled a musical within a musical filled with animated songs, elaborate dance numbers, and a failed wedding. The musical set a lighthearted atmosphere throughout the entire show, with the intent to not have a deep, internal meaning.

Junior Clea Gaïtas starred as the musical fanatic who also doubled as the narrator in the chair. Gaïtas shared how her experience was not being able to interact with her castmates: “I’m used to like talking to other characters on stage, but all of my lines were just like to myself, so it was a different process for learning how to do that.” But Gaïtas managed to solve her struggle of acting onstage alone, “It’s hard not being able to interact with other people because you’re reliant on yourself to remember all of your lines. So I ran over my lines a lot with my mom, and that really helped.”

The group of twenty actors recalled the obstacles they encountered due to their small cast size. Freshman Elliot Cooper who played Underling, Tottendale’s butler, explained his struggles with the modest bunch of singers: “There were like a grand total of seven ensemble.”

Cooper also disclosed how the lack of voices affected the cast. “It was a lot of like, constantly being told to be louder and stuff because there’s not like twenty people backing you up.”

Despiste the grapples with the small-scale crew, Cooper highlighted a positive side of the situation: “You really got to know people better.” he explained, referring to his castmates.

The whopping two-year break was not the only noteworthy factor of this musical. The Drowsy Chaperone was the last US Theater musical director Anne Klus would take part in before her retirement at the end of this year. She has collaborated with production coordinator Eric Severson for the last twenty-two years.

Severson described Klus as his “co-conspirator and dearest friend” while reminiscing about their partnership in the director’s notes at the end of the paper program. Serverson revealed The Drowsy Chaperone was his and Klus’ “final love letter to the SPA community.”

Their passion for musical production with students has heightened SPA’s theater program since 2001.

This year’s US Spring Musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” was an amusing and all-around delightful production. As the first in-person musical in two years, and Klus’ last time as musical director, the show did not disappoint.