‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ comes to San Juan Community Theatre

“Everything always works out in musicals. In the real world, nothing ever works out and the only people who burst into song are the hopelessly deranged,” said the man in the chair.

San Juan Community Theatre proudly presents “The Drowsy Chaperone,” at 7:30 p.m., May 10, 11, 16–18 and May 23–25, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on May 12, 19 and 26. Tickets are $23 for adults, $12 reserved for students and $5 student tickets at the door with a limited number available. Thursdays are pay what you can at the door.

An opening night reception in the Steele Memorial Garden precedes the first show at 6 p.m. on May 10. A fundraiser for the Community Arts Theatre Society, tickets are $25 a piece and guests must be at least 21. Farhad Ghatan will play the piano and hors d’oeuvres by King’s Deli will be served.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is a musical written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. A parody of American musical comedy of the 1920s, the show is about a middle-aged, socially-awkward musical theater fan. While listening to the tunes of his favorite show, the fictional 1928 hit “The Drowsy Chaperone,” the performance comes to life before him and he makes snarky comments about the songs, cast and story.

The Journal caught up with “The Drowsy Chaperone” director Cathi Nett to catch a peak from her insider seat.

Why “The Drowsy Chaperone?”

“I chose this show because everything about it is witty, smart, and full of great music. Well-known plays are sometimes just that, well known, but not necessarily fresh and memorable. The Drowsy Chaperone is one to see again and again. It’s a show that I have absolutely never gotten tired of.

This is a character-driven musical and I have fallen in love with the zany and quirky style of performance that our actors are creating for this show. There is a lot of intricate and technical staging which I love to orchestrate and the big dance numbers are memorable and styled in the form of the “Roaring Twenties.” There are some fabulously fun set design creations that will delight and surprise our audiences and it will be a great evening of laughter, music, dance and fun that will bring a smile to each face long after the show ends.”

What is your directorial experience?

“I have participated in so many (I’ve lost count) musical theatre productions in various roles including actress, singer, dancer, director, choreographer and music director. With each production, it improved my ability to understand what it takes to put on a great musical. As a credentialed teacher in both drama and vocal music, I taught full time in several California school districts in the San Diego and Orange County areas. My experience also includes being regional artistic director for several large community theater programs in Southern California.

“So, when a new show comes around, it excites me with fresh energy and inspiration. I am thrilled to be directing ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ for SJCT this spring.”

Tell me about your cast

“‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is quite a technical show with the need for performers to be multi-talented. The songs are fun, yet difficult pieces with really beautiful harmonies. The dance numbers and vaudeville style of the 1920s is so different than our modern portrayal of song and dance. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of performers and this show really calls upon all the skills of these seasoned performers. There are 14 principal characters with a terrific ensemble cast as well, equally as radiant and talented on stage.”

Why should people come to see the show?

“‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is a Tony Award-winning musical and is a parody and farce of the 1920s American musical comedy. It is also known as a ‘Pastiche’ (a love letter to musical theater). It is hugely entertaining from start to finish. It mimics the over-the-top acting of the silent film era as well as the absurd and endearing content of early Broadway musicals including vaudeville- colorful, flamboyant and filled with every cliche, gag and gimmick from the busiest decade in Broadway history.”

Anything else you’d like to share?

“I love the community that is created when there is an outcome we are all determined to work toward. I have a wonderful production team and we have been collaborating since October when we all went to see the University of Victoria’s production of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone.’ We are working day and night to create this magical piece of meta-theatre and bring its playful, heartfelt story to our SJCT stage on May 10–26.”