Review: Cast of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ exceeds expectations

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The Lafayette College Theater Department opened ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ on Thursday. (Photo by Elle Cox ’21)

Allie Rosen

For those looking for something fun to do this weekend, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a must-see. I had the pleasure of attending the final dress rehearsal of the performance put on by the Lafayette College Theater Department on Wednesday evening and truly enjoyed it.

With its unique and fresh style of storytelling, “The Drowsy Chaperone” follows the wedding of an engaged couple as told through the eyes of a musical theater-loving narrator listening to a record. Going into the performance, one may be worried the comedy could be hard to understand, but with the littlest bit of musical theater knowledge, it’s a blast. The comedy is blended well, ranging from chuckling to jump-out-of-your-seat funny. A parody of traditional musicals, the comedy lovingly pokes fun at musical theater and its many cliches while also making cracks at how outdated some shows are.

However, what makes “The Drowsy Chaperone” so good is its cast. Each actor and actress is well-fit for the role they’re playing, more so than any show I’ve seen at the college so far. The cast is small and everyone in it gets ample time to shine, which makes it a really fun show.

At the center of the production is Matt Ackerman ’18, whose character, Man in a Chair, narrates the whole show. His humor guides the audience, which is mostly due to Ackerman’s line delivery. The character has so many lines and constantly interacts with the show as it goes on. Ackerman’s performance can’t be adequately described by how many lines he has because he fully embodies this character. Ackerman brings passion to every scene and makes the show real to the audience, encouraging the suspension of disbelief. By the end of the show, you feel like you’re best friends with that character and you seem to understand his train of thought.

‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ cast delivers an excellent performance. (Photo by Elle Cox ’21)

Maggie Shannon ’20 plays the titular character, the drowsy chaperone. Her voice is unmatched and her solo “As We Stumble Along” is one of the highlights of the whole production. Olivia Coughlin ’20, who plays the hilarious bride Janet van de Graaf, once again proves that she is one of the best actresses on campus.

Mallory Kostroff ’20 and Matt Peters ’19 play two gangsters disguised as pastry chefs and their comedic timing is impeccable. They hit all of their jokes right on the head and take over the stage when the spotlight is on them. The duo of Kostroff and Peters is one I hope to see again on stage.

Brian Brundage ’18 plays the hilarious character Adolfo, an overconfident European. Brundage outdoes everything he’s done before, further proving that he’s truly made for the stage. Matt Berry ’18 and Mary Kate Arcuri ’19 also play great opposites on the stage. Berry plays a strict butler who acts as a strong counter to Arcuri’s lovable-ditz stereotype. Both of them seem absolutely comfortable in their roles and their veteran status shows in their performances.

The best character chemistry goes to the Feldzieg and Kitty. Jack Mueller ’20 plays a big wig producer who has a girl chasing after him, played by Sarah Funkel ’21. Their wonderful chemistry seems to be a product of the way they effortlessly play off each other. Newcomers Owen McKenna ’21 and Keenan Barr ’21 were also fun to watch on stage. McKenna plays George, the best man who is in charge of organizing the wedding. Barr plays the groom wrapped around the center of the story. He’s bursting with confidence on stage and his song “Accident Waiting to Happen” was definitely one of my favorites in the show.

For a small stage and small cast, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is an incredible experience. It’s such an out-of-the-box production with lots of laughter and fun. It’s one of the best times I’ve had at a Lafayette College Theater production. “The Drowsy Chaperone” has an incredible cast and right after leaving the theater I immediately got a ticket for the Thursday night premiere.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” will show in the Weiss Theater Nov. 2 through Nov. 4 at 7:30p.m and 2p.m matinees Nov. 4 and Nov. 5.