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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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The Drowsy Chaperone Dazzled

Click here to watch the performance on YouTube.

Click here to view photos from the performance.

King School was swept up in the Roaring Twenties last week when upper school students brought “The Drowsy Chaperone” to the stage in the annual musical. The show was a resounding success, not only for its fabulous performances but for the collaboration and grit students demonstrated in producing it.

The main character, the Man in the Chair, is an introvert who plays an LP of his favorite musical to offset his mood. As the music plays, the show comes to life on stage, and the man provides commentary to the audience, revealing his own story. 

“Playing the Man in the Chair was a very special role, one that required me to look deeper into the character and come to some difficult realizations,” said Matthew Graham Brown ’24. “While the musical is bright and happy, upon further reflection, the story of the Man in the Chair is quite a sad one, filled with disappointment, sadness, and exclusion. I was grateful for the opportunity to explore this character more and try to give the most authentic portrayal possible.”

The show’s director, performing arts teacher Mark Silence, selected "The Drowsy Chaperone” for its balance of opportunities for the actors. He was confident the students would devour the combination of classical and contemporary theatrical styles and the great music, comedy, dance, and history. He was thrilled to see the more profound and philosophical themes recognized and appreciated by students.

“Being exposed to new content is always a benefit,” said Silence, adding that traditionally, the students produce a play in the fall, a musical in the winter, and something written or directed by a student in the spring. “Not everybody was familiar with this play or the music and style of the Jazz Age, now they have that as a reference when performing the kind of shows that evolved from the era.”

Though Grace Eagleton ’24 has performed in shows set in modern times and in fairytales, the 1920s were new. She loved being immersed in the music and setting of the period.
“What I love about Drowsy is that it shows how influential the ’20s were for musical theater,” Grace said, adding that the show “paved the path for shows to evolve and expand the borders of what one can see on stage.”

To prepare for their roles, students were required to research the period and the iconic individuals the characters are based on. “This really helped me learn about the time period and helped me build a more authentic character,” said Grace.

They also had to tackle different dance styles, including the Lindy, the Charleston, tap dancing, and roller skating. Such exercises, coupled with the big cast, called for a high camaraderie and commitment from everybody involved. Students rose to the occasion. Spencer Neckritz ’24 drew from the cast and raved over the experience. He said joining the theater program, which he did just this year, is one of the best decisions he has made during his time at King.

“Despite having less experience singing than everybody else, everybody helped me to flourish as an actor, and I had tons of fun in the process,” said Spencer. “In terms of being immersed in the 1920s, and with my past experience playing the trombone, I felt right at home in the Drowsy Chaperone's world – bringing Feldzieg's character to life allowed me to put myself out there in a way I'd never done before, and appreciate theater much more than ever before.”

Silence said rehearsals were a blast, filled with music, laughter, discipline, and grit.

“What surprised me most was the ease and consistency of the process,” said Silence. “The actors were really dedicated to this show, and it made my job easier. We were able to get to the nuance and specific details of moments because the preparation and structural work was being done or was accomplished in early rehearsals.”