IU Theatre’s The Drowsy Chaperone showcases talent young and young at heart!

Mar 23, 2017

Bloomington, Ind – Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will continue its 2016-2017 season with a production of the Broadway hit The Drowsy Chaperone, a loving send-up of musical theatre of the 1920s, featuring the talents of twenty-nine IU Musical Theatre majors and two students majoring in ballet.

An early version of The Drowsy Chaperone, with a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, was performed at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 1999. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2006 and ran for nearly 700 performances, garnering Tony awards for its libretto and score.

The play-within-a-play structure of the piece features a spoof musical (also titled “The Drowsy Chaperone”), which is revealed to us by the central character, a musical theatre superfan known only as “Man in Chair” (George Pinney). As Man in Chair plays his vinyl record of the original cast recording of the fictitious musical, his drab apartment transforms into a glamourous Broadway set from the Jazz Age, and the entirety of the musical is performed, with continuous annotation and commentary from Man in Chair throughout.

Pinney, the outgoing head of IU Theatre’s BFA program, will retire at the end of the school year, and The Drowsy Chaperone will be his final production after a 30-year career – though remarkably, it will be his first stage performance at IU, making the show both his debut and his swan song at the university. “The last time I acted on stage in a role with lines was in 1979!” says Pinney. “(I’m) having the time of my life with such a talented cast and creative team.”

Kenneth L. Roberson, who previously directed Sweet Charity and Into the Woods at IU, returns to helm The Drowsy Chaperone. “This show’s mission is bridging the often cynical attitudes of today with the charm of yesterday’s show biz,” says Roberson. “It’s a juxtaposition of (modern) theatre style with the style of the distant past.”

Choreography for The Drowsy Chaperone will be done by Broadway choreographer Liza Gennaro, who will take the reins of the BFA program at IU following Pinney’s departure. Terry LaBolt, professor of practice in the BFA program, will music direct.  The design team includes Ryan P. Miller (Scenic Design), Chen Chen (Costume Design), and Bridget Williams (Lighting Design).

There will be a special fundraiser performance and post-show reception for The Drowsy Chaperone on Thursday, April 13th at 7:30pm. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the George Pinney Scholarship Fund for Musical Theatre. Tickets are now on sale online at theatre.indiana.edu or in person at the IU Auditorium Box Office for this celebration of George Pinney’s IU career.

IU Theatre’s The Drowsy Chaperone takes a nostalgic, fun-filled romp through the musicals of yesteryear, with plenty to please both long-time lovers of musicals and theatre neophytes alike.

WHATThe Drowsy Chaperone

WHEN: Apr. 14, 15, 18 – 22 at 7:30pm with a matinee Apr. 22 at 2pm

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for seniors. 812.855.1103 or theatre.indiana.edu. For group discounts contact Abby Miller (millabby@indiana.edu).

For more information or interview/photo requests, please contact Amy Osajima at aosajima@indiana.edu or 812-855-0514.