Up for the challenge

Sally Cole
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Tony award-winning musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, opens at the Kings Playhouse on Sunday

Excitement is building for The Drowsy Chaperone, a Tony-award winning musical, opening in Georgetown this weekend.

And no one feels the pressure more than Dawn Sadoway.

“We’re right in the last few days before the show opens and there’s always a feeling of anxiety as we put everything together,” says the director of the popular Broadway show that hits the stage of the Kings Playhouse on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

“Musicals are enormous challenges, in many respects, because of the technical demands. But, I’m excited about opening night.”

Whether it’s watching the onstage antics of the 16 cast members or listening to the 20 or so songs in the musical score, it’s going to be great fun.

“It’s highly entertaining. I don’t think you can walk away from it without having laughed and truly enjoyed something about this show. It’s also faced paced and highly energetic so (the time) will blow by very quickly,” says Sadoway who credits the theatre’s original big thinkers — executive director Julie Haddlow and the board of directors — for landing the production in Georgetown.

“They applied for and received a little bit of funding from the P.E.I. 2014 program, which allowed us to consider doing this relatively new musical. That’s because, with musicals, just paying for the royalties alone is expensive.”

The Drowsy Chaperone is about a man who loves musicals and takes the audience through the album of his all-time favourite, The Drowsy Chaperone. It’s also a loving send-up of the over-the-top stage musicals of the jazz age.

“As cheesy as it might appear to be we discover, through the realm of musical theatre, an underlying truth about love and life,” says Sadoway.

Theatre actor Sherri-Lee Darrach plays Janet, a young woman who is about to marry Robert, played by Ian Byrne.

“She’s a sweet diva. She’s not stuck up on herself, but she isn’t quite sure what she wants. Janet doesn’t know if she wants a marriage and a family or to become this star. I’ve been in a similar situation in my life,” says Darrach, who has performed, written and directed many dinner theatre shows and is the co-creator of Boy Meets Girl and Island Love Story.

“Normally I’m in charge of something. But in this case, I get to come to work and play. Also, being directed by Dawn is amazing. She’s so talented and gifted and I’ve learned so much from her.”

When Sadoway was approached to direct the show, she had some reservations.

“Initially I went, ‘this is going to be a big challenge.’ Then we held auditions and these incredibly talented people came out of the woodwork. They could not only pull off a wonderful monologue, but they could sing and move and dance. So it was really an exciting audition process, unlike anything I had ever seen before.”

Now, with the approach of opening night, their enthusiasm continues.

“These Island actors who we have on stage are just eating this show up. They’re not only enjoying the process, they’re enjoying it each other. And it shines through loud and clear on stage.”


Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at scole@theguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.

Organizations: The Guardian

Geographic location: Georgetown, Broadway, Iceland

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