Nauset High’s ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ Takes The Cape Rep Stage
By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley
Topics: Local Theater , local artist , Nauset Regional School District , Nauset Regional High School , Nauset High School
Nauset Regional High School students are getting the chance to perform on one of the area’s most beloved stages, while their drama teacher experiences a homecoming, as the school’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” takes the Cape Rep Theatre stage through May 27.
Cape Rep Theatre is hosting Nauset High School’s spring musical while their campus is under construction. The venue is a familiar one for drama teacher Ian Hamilton, whose career as an arts educator began at Cape Rep.
“In 2017, I graduated from Nauset Regional High School. In 2021, I was hired to teach at the same school. In and of itself, that experience was surreal,” Hamilton said. “To then, in my first two years, land my dream job, is simply magical. On a personal level, it’s incredibly meaningful for this play to happen at Cape Rep. I grew up in this theater, so it really is home to me. Cape Rep is where I started my career as an arts educator, as an acting coach and associate director at their winter teen acting intensive, the Young Company. ”
Cape Rep Theatre’s producing artistic director Janine M. Perry said Cape Rep is thrilled to provide a home for the NRHS drama students’ spring musical.
“For the last several weeks, I have been impressed by their maturity, energy, joy and total commitment to this project on stage and off,” Perry said. “Come see their show; you will have a blast.”
Described as a musical within a comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone” opened on Broadway in 2006 and received five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. The production features a fan of musical theater known simply as Man in Chair, who, feeling a bit of “nonspecific sadness,” decides to combat the blues by treating the audience to a recording of his favorite 1928 musical comedy, along with his commentary. As the music plays, the production — “The Drowsy Chaperone” — is conjured on the stage beside him, complete with the wedding of an oil tycoon to a Broadway star, gangsters, flappers, an aviatrix, and of course the titular chaperone, who may or may not have indulged in a few liquid refreshments.
Hamilton said the cast absolutely loves working on this play.
“At the beginning of the year, I decided that the state of the world is dramatic enough, so we’ve only done comedies this year,” Hamilton said. “The students’ abilities when it comes to silliness have blown me away, and ‘Drowsy’ is a perfect vehicle for them to be ridiculous.”
The production features Lennie Carrier as Man in Chair, Sophia Baerga as Mrs. Tottendale, Jonathan Clark as Underling, Lucie Jackett as Robert Martin, Kendall Smith as George, Izaak Van der Wende as Feldzeig, Fiona McCray as Kitty, Vayda Smith and Brady Bartolomei as Gangsters, Jacob Packard as Aldolpho, Perry Gill as Janet Van de Graaf, Emma Taylor as The Drowsy Chaperone, and Katrina Hatch as Trix the Aviatrix. The ensemble is made up of Allison Diana, Liana Kiszka, River Hussey, Saturn Dubois, Olivia Connors-Gale, Isie Stuehmer, Larkin Fox, Liv Prince, Ella Smith, Reese Daley and Ashley Anderson.
Hamilton said it’s been a wonderful opportunity, for both the students and for himself, to mount this production at Cape Rep.
“My actors have been able to learn from the professional artists on staff, and the exposure afforded by an off-site performance venue can’t be overstated,” Hamilton said. “My technical students (set designers, builders, and lighting designer) have had access to the largest scenic design shop on Cape Cod here at Cape Rep, and one-to-one mentoring and instruction from master carpenters, designers, and technicians. I can’t thank the staff at Cape Rep Theatre enough for their generosity and kindness with my students.”
The Nauset High School Players present “The Drowsy Chaperone,” with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, directed by Ian Hamilton, through May 27 at Cape Rep Indoor Theatre. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are general admission, $15 or $10 for students, cash only at the door.