Image: Wintec | Te Pūkenga Performing Arts is presenting the Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Student Ethan Dillon-Mayne is performing as "The Man in the Chair" character, who serves as a narrator for the audience. “I love the themes and the story of The Drowsy Chaperone. I believe the entire show is a great big analogy of life.”
The Theatre stream of Wintec | Te Pūkenga Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts is getting ready for its end-of-year musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. The show brings together all ākonga from Year 2 and 3 of the degree under the astute guidance of kaimahi David Sidwell (director), Nick Braae (Musical Director), Jane Leonard (Choreographer) and Julia Booth (Voice Coach).
This year’s offering promises to be a hilarious night out at the theatre. Billed as a “musical within a comedy”, The Drowsy Chaperone features a man in a chair, alone in his apartment, as he listens to his favourite record – the titular musical. As the vinyl crackles, the musical comes to life in his living room and audiences watch the farcical antics of the show’s characters: Janet and her fiancé Robert, a European lothario, gangsters, a money-hungry producer, a ditzy wannabe star, a forgetful madame and her long-suffering butler, and the very tipsy, very drowsy chaperone of Janet.
At its heart, The Drowsy Chaperone is an affectionate send-up of all the tropes and conventions of classic Broadway musicals.
David Sidwell says, “Anybody who has ever seen a musical or a classic film will spot the nods and winks to old shows and films, such as all of the silly monkey references which are straight out of The Wizard of Oz. And if you haven’t seen these musicals, then you can enjoy the big song-and-dance numbers and jokes aplenty throughout the whole show!”
The Drowsy Chaperone marks the third end-of-year musical under the banner of the Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts. For Julia Booth, this project is “a wonderful opportunity to bring together ākonga. For the graduating ākonga, this is the culmination of their learning with us; for those in their second year, they get a glimpse of the heights they can aim for over the following twelve months.”
2023 will feature the largest cast in a Wintec | Te Pūkenga production to date and shows the degree programme going from strength to strength. Already, several of the ākonga have been involved in professional external productions and consequently, this is lifting the quality of the performances. Nick Braae has observed this shift and has been enjoying working with this cohort.
“They have more experience, they are hungry to learn and succeed, and they understand the commitment required to put on a high quality performance. It’s great to be able to bring all of these voices together as one. Audiences are in for a real treat,” he shares.
The Drowsy Chaperone is being performed at The Meteor Theatre from 23-25 November 2023, with evening performances and a Saturday matinee. Tickets are available from www.themeteor.co.nz.