Fresh from the Bartlett Theatre stage (and backstage), four William Smith students took part in the Geneva Theatre Guild’s (GTG) recent production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Wesley Cady ’15, Brittany Lopez ’14, Grace Weiner ’15 and Nicole Zanghi ’14 have focused their studies on theatre at HWS as either minors or individualized majors. They each have appeared onstage and worked backstage in HWS theatre productions this past academic year and made their GTG debut with “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Cady also serves as one of the student delegates on the GTG board. The production was staged at the air conditioned Smith Opera House from July 17-20.
“I’m certainly enjoying working with a range of people I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to collaborate with,” said Cady prior to the production’s opening. “For example, some of the cast are recent high school grads who are honestly some of the most entertaining people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. The show really is a collaboration piece with everyone pulling equal weight so that I couldn’t tell you who my favorite character is or what my favorite part of the show is. It’s all one big mass of fun.”
Lopez agreed. “It’s been an amazing learning experience working with actors and directors who have been doing community theatre for years. It’s been an opportunity to work with actors of all ages that truly love theatre,” she said. “Community theatre has been a great chance to learn from everyone around me in a collaborative way. The sheer amount of commitment, collaboration and cooperation present in the Geneva Theatre Guild process has been a joy to be a part of.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” is homage to American musicals of the jazz age. Rousing anthems, lavish costumes, upbeat music and fast-paced tap numbers have audiences loving the show wherever it’s staged.
Most recently, Cady appeared in the Colleges’ productions of “Heavier Than…” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Lopez was a member of the cast of the spring production of “Radium Girls.” Weiner was a cast member of “Midsummer” and served as assistant stage manager for “Heavier Than…,” and Zanghi was a member of the company for “Midsummer.”
Zanghi noted she also “was a part of the collaboration between HWS and GTG last fall on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and really enjoyed the experience so I jumped at the opportunity to work with the wonderful actors and crew of GTG again.”
In this production, an agoraphobic Broadway fanatic seeks to cure his “non-specific sadness.” He pulls out his favorite Broadway musical, the fictional 1928 musical comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As he listens to this rare recording, he is transported into the musical. The characters snap to life right in the middle of his dingy apartment, transforming it into an impressive Broadway set replete with sparkling furniture, dazzling backdrops, glitzy costumes and most of all, the exciting and bigger than life characters singing songs such as “Show Off,” “Toledo Surprise” and “Stumble Along!”
The show was directed by Steve Duprey and the versatile cast was comprised of actors from all over the Finger Lakes and as far away as Rochester, Queensbury, Manhattan and New Jersey. More information about the GTG can be found at www.gtglive.org.