Wednesday, 20 April 2016 14:39

Musical Theatre wide awake with new production

Written by  Chris Brown, Southern Alberta Newspapers
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Eric Sebastian, Marty Schultz and Shawn Champagne rehearse a scene from "The Drowsy Chaperone" on April 4 at the Medicine Hat Musical Theatre playhouse. The play opens April 22 for the first of six shows.  Eric Sebastian, Marty Schultz and Shawn Champagne rehearse a scene from "The Drowsy Chaperone" on April 4 at the Medicine Hat Musical Theatre playhouse. The play opens April 22 for the first of six shows. Chris Brown

Mining laughs and music from one decade has probably become a little too easy for Medicine Hat Musical Theatre and so its upcoming show is set in two decades that are nearly a century apart.


The curtain rises on The Drowsy Chaperone on April 22 for a run of six shows.
“It’s about a man who is feeling a little bit blue and we get the joy of watching his imagination come alive and retell the story of a (fictional) 1920’s musical The Drowsy Chaperone,” explains co-director Christi Brodie.
The Drowsy Chaperone is similar to MHMT’s last show Noises Off! in the sense that it’s a show within a show.
In this case, though, both shows are called The Drowsy Chaperone and there’s not quite the backstage chaos, says Brodie.
The show was written by a pair of Canadians, and made its debut in Toronto in 1998 and on Broadway in 2006. Brodie describes it as “a Broadway musical with Canadian roots," and notes there is a lot of the self-deprecating humour for which Canadians are famous.
The humour is found in both the running commentary made by Man in Chair as he imagines/watches the 1920’s musical and from the send-up of 1920’s musicals that that show is.
The Drowsy Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone contains everything from mistaken identities and spit takes to comic gangsters and a ditzy showgirl.
“There is genuinely some makes-your-cheeks-hurt laughing moments in the 1920’s musical,” says Brodie, who previously co-directed the Wizard of Oz pantomime in 2012. This time she’s sharing the reins with Tyler Johnson, who directed Next to Normal in 2014.
The music also comes from the two very different time periods, though it is mostly modern music. Brodie says the musical director and vocal coaches have been integral in getting cast members to where they need to be vocally, saying the show is musically complicated with different harmonies.
The Drowsy Chaperone runs April 22-23 and April 28-30 with an 8 p.m. curtain. There is also a 2 p.m. matinée on April 24. All shows are at the Medicine Hat Musical Theatre Playhouse.
Tickets, $30 plus GST, are available at www.mhmtheatre.com or by phoning 403-502-3477.

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