WOODBURY, Minn. — The musical "The Drowsy Chaperone" begins with "Man in Chair" (Cam Stevens) sitting on the stage and telling the audience about his record of the original cast performing "The Drowsy Chaperone," a musical that was supposedly created and performed in the 1920s.
As the music begins, the man's apartment, which stretches from stage right to stage left, opens up to allow decorations from an early 1900s-era theater and modernist furniture to appear on stage. As the set changes, actors in flapper dresses and three-piece suits began spilling into the scene.
The show has about five different plot lines that run parallel to each other: an actor giving up her career to marry a man she doesn't know very well, the actor's director who wants to get her back and owes a couple of gangsters money, a girl who wants to become the next big actress, the wedding host who may have a thing for her butler and, of course, the chaperone, who doesn't actually do much chaperoning. Throughout all of this, "man in chair" adds commentary, personal opinions and sometimes joins in on the singing and dancing.
The entire production is phenomenal. It is hard to believe that the stage is filled with high school students, not professional actors. Carter Bannwarth and Derek Dols perform a (literal) toe-tapping tap dance number, Baylee Stevenson does an onstage quick-change, and Lauren Nelson and Luke Pfluger appear and disappear using a Murphy bed.
The singing, dancing and acting is all very well executed but the most impressive part of the show is possibly the stage crew's ability to seamlessly move sets and props to go from an apartment to a mansion, inside to outside, from a wedding to an airplane.
This comedic show is worth seeing, maybe more than once to catch all of the jokes, facial expressions and plot lines unfolding on stage.
If you go ...
WHAT: "The Drowsy Chaperone"
WHERE: The Loft Stage at East Ridge High School, 4200 Pioneer Drive
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1; 7 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, Nov. 2, 8, 9; and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 3
COST: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students.