July 24, 2019
MSP to close season with the uproarious musical comedy ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’
CARBONDALE, Ill. — McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) closes its 2019 Summer Season with the glamorous and hilarious musical spoof, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
The production, which runs Aug. 1-4 in the McLeod Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, features area high school students as part of The All Southern High School Theatre Project (ASHSTP), in collaboration with Carbondale Community Arts. Tickets are on sale now by visiting events.siu.edu or by calling (877) 725-8547.
This show-within-a-show begins when a die-hard musical fan plays his favorite record, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and a forgotten Jazz Age Musical comes to life in his living room.
As the overture starts, the musical bursts to life with larger-than-life characters and laugh-out-loud results. The story follows a glamorous follies star who plans to give up her career to marry her true love, while her producer is desperate to keep his showgirl and stop the nuptials at any cost.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” features book by Bob Martin and Don McKeller with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. This zany musical comedy was the darling of the Tony Awards, winning the most statues in 2006.
“‘Drowsy’ is the perfect musical for theater and music lovers,” said Danae DeShazer, director and choreographer for the ASHSTP production. “The story demonstrates the universal healing power of music, and the role it plays in all our lives.
“Our quirky narrator, known simply as the Man in Chair, uses music as an escape from his dull and dreary life. He finds comfort, joy, friendship, love, and the will to survive, all within this silly little record.
“This is a wonderful lesson for all of us, especially in 2019 and in our current state of affairs politically and socially. In times of trouble, we can turn to the arts to heal our wounds and unite our community.”
A delightful collaboration
Now in its 23rd year, ASHSTP is a collaboration between Carbondale Community Arts and MSP. The program provides musical theater intensive training and education to high school students in the Southern Illinois region.
The culmination of the ASHTSP program is a fully-staged musical theater production that caps the MSP season, with professionally-designed costumes, scenic design, lighting and sound.
At the helm of “The Drowsy Chaperone” is MSP Associate Artistic Director Danae DeShazer, with musical direction by Kevin Smith. It stars Carterville High School 2019 graduates Alexa Boese as starlet Janet Van De Graaf and Lily Jones as The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as Marion High School senior Reed Absher as the Man in Chair.
“I have been involved in ASHSTP for five years,” Boese said. “My first year getting involved with this program, I was an incoming freshman in high school and I was not sure what I wanted to do as a career.
“ASHSTP allowed me to solidify my love for the theater community and made my decision for going into Musical Theater professionally. Next year, I will begin my B.F.A. studies with the prestigious theater program at University of Central Florida. ASHSTP has given me so much within my high school career and I couldn’t thank them enough.”
Ryan Holland (Mr. Feldzieg), a 2019 graduate of Goreville High School is brand new to the program this year. Mr. Holland said he has “learned so many things about singing, acting, and dancing. The show is not possible without everyone being whole-heartedly involved.
“It’s been such an amazing experience working with all of the professional crew and doing all the professional workshops. It has been an experience that has changed my life and I’m so grateful for MSP and ASHSTP for providing this wonderful opportunity.”
Sarah Holland, a 2019 graduate of Goreville High School, returns for her final season as the ASHSTP Stage Management Intern.
“I gained so much knowledge from my experience with the cast and crew of such a fun production,” she said of her experience last season. “I used this new knowledge and put it to work when I was hired for the first time to be the stage manager for Artstarts production of ‘Newsies’ this past spring. Stage management is my passion and I am excited to attend Webster University this coming fall to begin my B.F.A. in stage management.”
Holland, along with other high school students in our region, have the opportunity for paid summer internships in the arts thanks to a major grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and generous individual donors.
- Produced by Carbondale Community Arts.
- Directed & choreographed by Danae DeShazer.
- Musical direction by Kevin A. Smith.
- Scenic design by M.K. Hughes.
- Costume design by Nicole Watts.
- Lighting design by Mark K. Varns.
- Sound design by Jerome Veit.
- Stage manager: Kyle Aschbrenner.
- Assistant stage manager: Natalie Shadrick.
ASHSTP 2019 Production Interns
- Nathaniel Gao (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Sarah Holland (Goreville H.S.)
- Emily Jabr (Marion H.S.)
- Hannah Sullivan (Carterville H.S.)
'The Drowsy Chaperone' Cast
- Reed Absher (Marion H.S.)
- Savannah Bain (Home schooled in Pittsburg, IL)
- Ava Barker (Mt.Vernon Township H.S.)
- Alexa Boese (Carterville H.S.)
- Mitchell Brandon (Herrin H.S.)
- Sallee Collins (Pinckneyville H.S.)
- Bryson Edwards (Carterville H.S.)
- Aaron Elliott (Herrin H.S.)
- Levi Gregge (Johnston City H.S.)
- Carly Hertzing (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Ryan Holland (Goreville H.S.)
- Lily Jones (Carterville H.S.)
- Nicholas Lincoln (Carterville H.S.)
- Catherine Lee (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Anna Madura (Anna-Jonesboro Community H.S.)
- Jasper Meadows (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Clare Meadows (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Bella Morris (Marion H.S.)
- Miranda Needham (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Elijah Odle (Home schooled in Marion, IL)
- Phoenix Odle (Home schooled in Marion, IL)
- Aliegha Ramos (Agape Christian H.S.)
- Giulianna Raugust (Trinity Christian H.S.)
- Callie Vine (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Amina Wilson (Carbondale Community H.S.)
- Connor Windings (Caledonia Christian Academy)
Tickets on sale now
Performances will take place in SIU’s McLeod Theater, located in the Communications Building, 1100 Lincoln Drive.
Performances will occur at:
- 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2, 3.
- 2:00 p.m. on Aug. 4.
General admission tickets: $20 adults, $10 students and $8 children.
Tickets are available by phone, online, in person or by mail:
- Online at siu.edu.
- By phone at 877-SALUKIS (877-725-8547).
- In person at the SIU Arena (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or McLeod Theater box office (noon-4:30 p.m.) Monday through Friday when the university is in session.
- By mail through the SIU Ticket Office, Lingle Hall - Mail Code 6620, 1490 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901.
Some fees may apply. Purchase tickets for individual events or take advantage of multiple subscription options.