‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ pays homage to the golden age of musical theatre

  • Amy Mills plays Mrs. Tottendale, the drowsy chaperone, in the musical.
    Amy Mills plays Mrs. Tottendale, the drowsy chaperone, in the musical.
  • Janet Van De Graaff, played by Haley Hubbard, is pictured here with oil tycoon, Robert Martin, played by Matt Horne. Photos by LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY
    Janet Van De Graaff, played by Haley Hubbard, is pictured here with oil tycoon, Robert Martin, played by Matt Horne. Photos by LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY

WAIMEA — A winner of five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a musical that parodies American musical comedies from the 1920s. Described as a musical within a comedy, it opened on Broadway in 2006 and comes to Waimea beginning March 17.

Presented by Waimea Community Theater and Chorus, the nostalgic show will begin at Parker Theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for two consecutive weekends March 17-25. It will then move to Honokaa Theatre April 1 and 2.

The play opens with the main character, known as Man in Chair, who, attempting to cure his non-specific sadness, hears a recording of a fictional 1928 musical comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As he listens, the characters appear in his dingy apartment which is transformed into a Broadway stage.

The story focuses on Broadway star Janet Van De Graaff, who plans to give up her career to marry oil tycoon, Robert Martin. Her loyal hostess, Mrs. Tottendale, is the drowsy chaperone. Janet’s producer does not want her to get married and tries to keep her away from the soon-to-be groom.

The producer hires a gigolo to seduce Janet to keep her from marrying Robert. By accident, he seduces the chaperone. Other funny characters are gangsters disguised as pastry chefs to make sure their investment in the Broadway show is secured.

The show is produced by Daniel Bal, and directed by Andy Kunellis, remembered for his Waimea Community Theater production of “Spamalot” at Kahilu Theatre in 2016. A variety of local actors comprise the cast, including Haley Hubbard, Matt Horne, Sam Valenti, Jayne Kerns, John Sucke, Skyla Lee, Amy Mills, Quincy Lambert, Jack Friend, Victor Friend, Stephanie Tatum-Ford, Andy Kunellis and Kurt Simon. Chorus members are Justin Henshaw, Christina Culligan, Melissa Threlfall, Veronica Moore, Abi Hobbs, Destiny Nelson and Hannah Kaplon.

The evening shows at both theaters begin at 7 p.m., with Sunday shows at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $9 for children 12 and under. They can be purchased at discount in advance at Waimea General Store, Waikoloa Mail Box and Taro Patch Gifts in Honokaa. Tickets are also available at waimeacommunity theatre.org.

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