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There's nothing drowsy about the Freed Center's spring production

Jennifer Barnaba shines on the stage during the spring production,

Jennifer Barnaba shines on the stage during the spring production, "The Drowsy Chaperone." (ONU photo/Communications & Marketing)

Ohio Northern University’s spring musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, may best be known for its run on Broadway. On May 1, 2006, the production took Broadway by storm with thirteen Tony Award nominations during its breakthrough year, winning “Best Book of a Musical,” “Best Original Score,” “Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical,” “Best Scenic Design,” and “Best Costume Design.”

It’s not surprising that ONU decided to perform The Drowsy Chaperone. Set in the 1920s, the musical centers on a lonely, middle-aged musical theatre fan who decides, one day, to listen to his favorite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, on his record player. As he listens, the musical comes to life in front of his eyes.

The musical continues to unfold in front of the middle-aged man as he stands on the sidelines, making comments about the players. In a sense, The Drowsy Chaperone is a farce, a musical within a comedy.

Ohio Northern’s take on the musical stays as true to the original as possible. Costumes have been designed and pulled from other shops in order to get an authentic 1920’s look.

Amiri Anzari, costume designer for the production, states, "It was quite a feat to get these costumes; we even had order some from Canada.” Since the musical takes place in the man's imagination, the costumes incorporate “a little bit of fantasy and a little bit of the true historical period.”

The director and choreographer for this year’s musical, Mark Davis, stated that he is pleased to be involved. “The passion and the excitement of the people in this cast are phenomenal. It’s an extremely hilarious play, and all the cast needs now is an audience to perform for.”

The cast includes Chase Zimmerman as Man in Chair, Madeline Gish as Mrs. Tottendale, Evan LaChance as Underling, Brady Miller as Robert, Garrett Hill as George, Isaac Steinhour as Feldzieg, and Talia Heskett as Kitty.

Also contributing to the production are Riley Alexander as Gangster, David James Grant as Gangster, Trevor Dorner as Aldolpho, Jennifer Barnaba as Janet, Kayla Burress as The Drowsy Chaperone, and Sybil Anast as Trix.

The Drowsy Chaperone will continue at the Freed Center for the Performing Arts Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances on Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and can be purchased at the Freed Center’s box office. 

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