“The Drowsy Chaperone” Delights at the Middle School

Theatre Review by Rachel Fox

The entire cast of The Drowsy Chaperone includes Evan Strittmatter, Sydney Davis Denny, Linus Wood, Jackson Monical, John Hutto, Hyun Kim, Ellie Washburn, Valentino Nguyen, Robert Schaefer, Fintan Swift, Mia Dawson, Cole Fox, Hazel Many, Tanner Holmes, Ella Hoadley-Brill, Byron Neu, Pablo Guerrero, Aman Sen, Quinn Collins, Lila Dworsky-Hickey, Yurika Espinosa, Nathalia Silva, Aanji Sin, Kaitlyn Tam, Esther Topping, Sarah Zenas, Elliott Corell, Piper Fleming, Amari Latham, Lindsey Michaels, Mahal Montes, Rae Norton, Quinn Rosenbluh, Noah Saris, Bella Solomon, Gillian Terhune, Quinnlan Manzo, Ava Page, Elissa Fong, Kayla Nielsen, Reva Pau, Henry Privett-Mendoza, and Deanna Lau. Photo credit: Helen Mendoza

Webster’s Dictionary defines “masterpiece” as a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. This is indeed the best word to describe South Pasadena Middle School’s weekend productions of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a show that pays tribute to the jazz-age shows of the 1930s, when a die-hard theater fan, Man in the Chair, played brilliantly by 8th grader Evan Strittmatter, plays his favorite cast album and the characters come to life.

The house was packed for all three shows for what wound up being spectacular performances. The stage crew, led by Nicholas Kalaw and Alex Parra, worked tirelessly to deliver superb technical performances. The SPMS band, under the direction of Kelly Coughlin, as well as local musicians Bill Schmidt, Stephen Raynor and Chris Price, helped bring the show to life with beautiful rhythm and sound.

Many of the musical numbers excited the crowd including: As We Stumble Along, sung by Drowsy, which was played by 8th grader Cole Fox; and Adolfo sung by 7th grader Fintan Swift. Janet Van De Graaff, played by 8th grader Mia Dawson, was a crowd favorite with her rendition of Show Off. Over 40 students brought the magical musical to life on stage. Stand out moments included Robert Martin, played by 8th grader Jackson Monical, skating across the stage blindfolded and Mrs. Tottendale, played by 8th grader Sydney Davis Denny, getting into a spitting situation with Underling, played by 7th grader Linus Wood. John Hutto as George, Hyun Kim as Feldzieg, Valentino Nguyen & Robert Schaefer as Gangsters, Hazel Many, Tanner Holmes &d Ella Hoadley-Brill as Trix, along with Ellie Washburn as Kitty, rounded out a fabulous group of lead actors. With a number of costume changes and over a dozen numbers, “The Drowsy Chaperone” will undoubtedly go down as one of director Marion Tompkins most fabulous musicals.

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