Lees-McRae Summer Theatre to kick off with musical-comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone”

The 37th season of Lees-McRae Summer Theatre kicks off on Sunday, June 26, with the first performance of the “musical within a comedy,” “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The show is being performed at 2 p.m. on June 26, June 29, June 30, and July 3, and at 7 p.m. on June 28, July 1, and July 2.

This production of the Tony Award-winning show about a vinyl recording of a 1920s musical production come to life was originally scheduled for the 2020 season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the production’s large cast and crew, it was postponed until now.

“Some of the things that drew us to this production to begin with back in 2019 were the humor of the piece, and the fact that our audiences tend to enjoy the style of old-fashioned musicals, but not necessarily the length of them. This show brings the spirit of those musicals and as a result is a pretty hilarious production,” Managing Director Gabriel Vanover said.

The plot of the show begins to unfold when a lover of classical musicals decides to spin a vinyl from his favorite theater production from the 1920s, but before he knows it the recording comes to life, and the characters from the musical come bustling into his kitchen through the refrigerator.

Although “The Drowsy Chaperone” incorporates much of the whimsy and fun that make traditional musicals so widely loved, Vanover said the production will appeal to more than just theater buffs.

“This is a musical for people who love musicals, and for people that hate them,” Vanover said. “The people that love them are going to recognize the parody style of the musical, and then the people that hate musicals are going to like it because it pokes fun at the things that happen in musicals like people singing out of nowhere.”

While “The Drowsy Chaperone” is already a show enjoyed by many, Vanover explained that what really brings the Summer Theatre production of the musical to life is the talented cast. The company boasts a range of talent, from veteran actors who make appearances on the Summer Theater stage year after year, to college students making their professional debut.

“What makes Lees-McRae Summer Theater special is the quality of talent that comes here,” Vanover said. “For this production our cast is just phenomenal. We’re working with some of the best, most talented people who come back to Summer Theater year after year, so having them in the room with our new folks who are also phenomenal, it's very exciting to see them in a short four or five days become a group, and a family, and a community.”

Vanover said this spirit of collaboration among the more than 100 cast and crew members in the company is what makes Lees-McRae Summer Theatre so special, and what keeps many audience members, actors, and crew members coming back year after year.

“It’s very exciting to see in the small number of rehearsals we’ve had just in the past week how it’s already starting to come together,” Vanover said. “The collaboration  has been my favorite part so far.”

Tickets for all performances of “The Drowsy Chaperone” can be purchased online. All performances will take place in Hayes Auditorium on the Lees-McRae College campus. Masks are welcomed but not required.

By Maya JarrellJune 13, 2022
CommunityCampus Life