‘Drowsy Chaperone’ being staged through Sunday

Students Jonathan Cobrda (as the narrator, or ‘man in chair’) and Allison Dixon (in the title role) will perform in ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’ April 11-14 at Western Carolina University.

Students Jonathan Cobrda (as the narrator, or ‘man in chair’) and Allison Dixon (in the title role) will perform in ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’ April 11-14 at Western Carolina University.

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” a playful take on classic musicals of Broadway, will stage Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of Western Carolina University.

The family friendly musical comedy, presented by the WCU School of Stage and Screen’s Musical Theatre Program and the final offering of the 2012-13 Mainstage Series, will begin at 7:30 p.m. April 11-13 and 3 p.m. April 14. A silent auction and the raffle of a getaway for two to New York City are planned in conjunction with the performance.

Using the show-within-a-show plot device, “The Drowsy Chaperone” begins when a die-hard fan of musicals plays his favorite cast album, from the fictional 1928 smash “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As the recording hits the turntable, the show magically bursts to life in the narrator’s living room, telling the tangled tale of a Broadway star’s wedding day. Paying homage to the musical comedies of the 1920s, “The Drowsy Chaperone” cleverly plays mistaken identities, dream sequences, contrived plot points and stereotypical characters –the levelheaded English butler, comic gangsters and a ditzy showgirl – to uproarious results.

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, opened on Broadway in 2006 and won multiple Tony Awards, including best book and best score. Critics called the show “hilarious [and] side-splitting” (Jeffrey Lyons of WNBC), “ingenious” (Ben Brantley of The New York Times) and “clever, gleeful and intelligent” (John Lahr, The New Yorker).

Directing WCU’s production is Terrence Mann, Phillips Distinguished Professor in Musical Theatre, with stage and screen faculty members Claire Eye, Nathan Thomas and Karyn Tomczak serving respectively as co-director, musical director and choreographer. The show’s lead actors include WCU seniors Jonathan Cobrda, Allison Dixon, Charity Haskins and Josh Jones; junior Madee Seagle; and sophomore Will Bryant.

The silent auction and raffle, organized by WCU’s Friends of the Arts organization, will benefit student scholarships and programs in WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts. The auction will run in the Bardo Arts Center lobby beginning 90 minutes before each performance. Entrance to the auction is free and open to the public and does not require a ticket to “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Close to $20,000 worth of goods and services have so far been donated toward the fundraiser, with items ranging from rare and original works of art to jewelry, kitchenware and gift certificates for hotels, restaurants, shops and services. The New York City raffle tickets cost $50 apiece with a limited number of 200 for purchase at the Bardo Arts Center box office and (depending on availability) at performances. The trip package, worth an estimated $3,000, includes travel, meals, accommodations and tickets to the Broadway show “Pippin,” featuring WCU’s Mann and complete with backstage tour. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn at the April 14 performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

For more information about the auction, raffle or the Friends of the Arts Organization, contact Courtney Thompson of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts at 828-227-7028 or cbthompson@wcu.edu.

Admission to “The Drowsy Chaperone” is $20 for adults; $15 for seniors and WCU faculty and staff; and $7 (in advance) and $10 (day of show) for students. For tickets, visit the Bardo Arts Center box office, call 828-227-2479 or order online at bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.