'The Drowsy Chaperone' makes its Denison University debut
Date of Event: February 18, 2011
Posted: February 6, 2011
The Tony Award-winning musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” makes its Denison University premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, in Ace Morgan Theatre in the Theatre Arts Building (211 W. College Street). Denison’s Department of Theatre dedicates the production to an alumna, the late Gail Buchanan Curry, who left Denison a bequest for theatrical performance. “The Drowsy Chaperone” takes place on Feb. 18-19 and 22-26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 27, at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for general admission, $5 for senior citizens, and $4 for students. For reservations, contact the box office at 740-587-6527.
“The Drowsy Chaperone,” a zany “musical within a comedy,” has music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. The play won five 2006 Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.
When the lights go up, the Man in Chair invites the audience to listen to his favorite old musical, a 1928 comedy called “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He drops the needle on the LP, and the play bursts magically into life in his apartment. The hilarious invasion is peopled by a pampered Broadway star and bride, her tap-dancing swain, the producer who sets out to sabotage the lovers’ nuptials, a dizzy chorine, a Latin lover, an aviatrix, a couple of bumbling gangsters, and, of course, the bride’s drowsy chaperone.
Gail Buchanan Curry ’56, the “theatrical angel” of Denison’s production, was a theatre major, appearing in a number of productions during her academic years and in the Denison Summer Theatre seasons of 1953 and 1954. Frederic Curry ’54 majored in sociology but was a regular fixture on the Denison stage, featured in numerous productions. The two first appeared together onstage in June of 1953 in “The Country Girl,” with Buchanan Curry in the title role, described in her bio as “a young actress of wide range and ability.” Following her graduation, they were married and settled in Evanston, Ill.
The Currys sent two of their four children to Denison, where Judson ’86 and Anne ’88, like their dad, participated in theatre productions while pursuing other majors. As a memorial to her husband, Gail Buchanan Curry also endowed the Frederic K. W. Curry Theatre Prize to be awarded annually to non-theatre seniors who have contributed significantly to Denison’s theatre program. Twenty-six graduates have benefited from this generous award.
Gail Buchanan Curry lost her fight against cancer in 2005. She will be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 19, when the families of Judson Curry and Anne Curry Coon will attend “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
Directing the play is Assistant Professor of Theatre Cheryl McFarren. Associate Professors Cynthia Turnbull and Peter Pauzé are the costume and scenic designers, respectively. Kevin Wines is the music director, orchestra conductor and keyboardist. Matthew McFarren is the properties artisan and Andrew Johns is the technical director. Vail Artists-in-Residence Linda Kay Leonard and Don Childs join the production as choreographer and lighting designer.
A cast of twenty-eight students brings the play to life. Senior Katherine Damisch, Northbrook, Ill., plays Mrs. Tottendale. Juniors are Brad Miller, Fishers, Ind., as Man in Chair; John Carter Sarasota, Fla. as Underling; and Molly Coyne, Atlanta, Ga., as Janet Van De Graaf. Sophomores are Alex Lee, Knoxville, Tenn., as Robert Martin; Skyler Jordan, Columbus, Ohio, and Dylan Reaves, Lawrenceburg, Ky., as the Gangsters; Emily Schuman, New York, as the Drowsy Chaperone; and Vanessa Theus, Beloit, Wis. as Trix. First-year students are Pearson Handley, Bristol, R.I., as George; Benjamin Chiewphasa, Manhattan Beach, Calif., as Feldzieg; Sarah Hayes, Lake Bluff, Ill., as Kitty; and Christopher Morriss, Allendale, N.J., as Alfolpho.
Ensemble members are seniors Sophia Chen, Bridgewater, N.J. and Steve Flores, Hyde Park, Mass.; junior Kale Hills, Kansas City, Mo.; sophomores John Arnold, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Jermaine Ellis, Boston; Joseph Firoben, Westerville, Ohio; Samuel Gorman, Cincinnati; Beverly Johnson, Narberth, Pa.; Hillary Maloney, Pittsburgh; Keith Nolen, Boston; Tyler Odneal, Antioch, Tenn.; and Kathryn Woods, Myersville, Md.; and first-year students Benjamin Flox, University Heights, Ohio; Jennifer Salkin, Solon, Ohio; and Laura Wilson, Bakersfield, Calif.
Junior Owen Beamer, Newark, Ohio, is the stage manager, assisted by sophomore Ellen Rosebrough, Wildwood, Mo., and first-year students Devin Daro, Wickliffe, Ohio, and Tara Foster, Sarasota, Fla.
CALENDAR LISTING, Denison University Theatre, Granville — “The Drowsy Chaperone” Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison; book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar; at 8 p.m., Feb. 18-19 and 22-26, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 27, in the Ace Morgan Theatre (211 W. College St.). $8 general admission, $5 senior citizens, $4 students. Reservations may be made by calling 740-587-6527.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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