Friday September 22nd 2017

“The Drowsy Chaperone”

Most of us, those that attend a great deal of professional theater in Chicago and surrounding area are used to the large budget musicals and every so often, we take a gander at what is termed “Community theater”, often housed in a school auditorium or gymnasium where talent is scarce and the show is fine for the locals and the families and friends of the performers. They are cute and fun. When it comes to these smaller companies, we have a hidden treasure in the Northwest suburbs- Big Noise Theatre Company ( a division of Winnetka Theatre) where talent is sublime and productions are in many cases as slick as the road companies that come in to our major venues. The theater they perform at is in a park district auditorium in Des Plaines but is very functional and comfortable and the product they put on stage is a great theater value. Their current production, “The Drowsy Chaperone” a wonderful spoof of the old time musical with a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison is pure delight. The whole premise of the show is that a very lonely man who is called Man in Chair ( a delightful performance by P J Samorian, who truly makes one believe that he IS this character) takes us through the story of why he loves musicals and then plays his LP ( that is a long playing record ) and what happens is a miracle- the entire play begins to take place in his apartment.

Directed by Melissa Young who works miracles on this smaller stage as do choreographers nancy Flaster and Ann Fink, this young cast is far from what you get at “community theater”- they are brilliant performers and some of the tap dancing is equal to what w expect at Marriott or Drury Lane (David Geinosky and Mark Kominskey in particular could hit the boards on any stage with their talent) and the marvelous Alexis Armstrong as  Janet Van de Graaf, the starlet who is about to wed Robert Martin would hold her own on any stage as well. There are a great number of highly talented members in this cast, all who appear to be having as much fun as we, the audience. This show is about gangsters, producers, an aviatrix ( Sarah Blevins who has a voice that will knock your socks off, The drowsy chaperone herself ( a delightful romp by Marian Kaderbek )and a Latin lover, Adolpho ( the very funny Peter Durkin), and two chefs/gangsters Levi Lawson and Corey Stonebrook. A very impressive cast indeed!

The set by Rick Paul is a unique apartment with all the makings of a slick Broadway road show on what I am sure is a budget of a muck smaller dollar amount and yet, it works. Even the airplane, yes an onstage airplane is well done.”Chaperone” is one to see- a solid production from start to end- 1 hour and forty five minutes of pure enjoyment. As The Man In The Chair says “Theater is supposed to be a diversion from our everyday lives, in particular Musical Theater”, “The Drowsy Chaperone” as presented by this strong theater company is all that and more! You can have this experience through May 15th ONLY with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at Prairie Lakes Community Center , 515 E. Thacker Street ( which is Dempster, just west of Wolf Rd in DesPlaines). Plenty of free parking

For more info or to order your tickets call 847-604-0275 or visit www.bignoisetheatre.org

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