The Shelter Island Drama Club presented “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a rollicking 1920s-inspired musical, from April 7 through April 10.Though not a well-known Broadway musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone” proved to be a big hit with audiences nonetheless when it was performed by the students of Shelter Island School last spring.
With a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, the 2006 musical was brought to life by director John Kaasik, his wife, producer Anu Kaasik, and a large cast of stellar young actors.
Backstage, a production crew made up of students, parents and community members contributed countless hours building sets, coaching actors and in general making sure things went smoothly on stage.
It may be a 21st century offering, but “The Drowsy Chaperone” evokes the bygone era of 1920s musical theater, using cornball humor, vaudevillian skits, nostalgia, and a series of inexplicable plot twists to tell several tales of love.
“There’s a lot of satire,” Mr. Kaasik said. “The plot is absolutely non-existent, corny and simplistic. It’s just a nice fresh take on musicals.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” takes place in the mind of a narrator, played by senior Kelly Colligan, who sits alone in her apartment listening to a record of an old musical which is played out in full on stage by the rest of the large cast.
Ms. Colligan admitted that her favorite part of “The Drowsy Chaperone” was that every audience member could fall in love with a different character on stage.
“Usually, there are one or two roles the whole audience favors, but in this show every character is so dynamic and unique,” Ms. Colligan said. “It’s so overwhelming. I’ve never seen a show with so many things going on at the same time.”
Senior Serina Kaasik played Janet, the show’s ingénue, and for her, this production was truly bittersweet. Her parents have directed and produced the school musical for more than a decade and as the youngest of four siblings, she was the last of the Kaasik’s children to grace the school stage.
“I’m very sad,” Ms. Kaasik said. “It’s been such a huge part of my life at Shelter Island. But we’re going out with a bang.”
Though there were many amazing characters in the cast, perhaps none garnered as many laughs as Aldolpho, the hilarious Latin lover played by Brazilian exchange student Rodrigo Barros. His performance was so memorable, in fact, that on June 5, Mr. Barros brought home the award for best Supporting Male in a Musical at East End Arts’ 14th Annual Teeny Awards ceremony at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
So while “The Drowsy Chaperone” may be a musical most people had never heard of, there’s a good chance this is one show the community will not soon forget.