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‘Drowsy Chaperone’ on Stage at WHS

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In their annual spring collaboration, students from Woodstock High School and Woodstock North High School will present “The Drowsy Chaperone,” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 21, and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22. The parody of an American musical comedy of the 1920s concerns a woman listening to her favorite musical in her home when the show comes to life.Stella Cosgray, left, Bella Mutert and Patience McKenzie perform on stage in “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“The kids are terrific,” said WHS theater teacher Tony Walker. “Their energy is amazing, and it comes through in the performance.”

The spring musical is traditionally a joint effort between WHS and WNHS. The schools alternate the opportunity to host, and this year the honor falls to WHS.

As the theater teacher at the host school, Walker is the director of the show. Auditions were held at WHS and 25 students representing both schools were cast. About another 25 students are working on the tech crew and 15 to 20 are performing in the pit orchestra.

Walker said the musical appeals to all audiences. While there is some basic physical humor that will have a wide appeal, the story is layered with sophisticated humor that will especially appeal to adults. Humor also comes through in the music.

WNHS senior Stella Cosgray grew up watching comedies, and she enjoys adding comedic elements to her characters. She plays the role of woman in chair, a role originally written for a man.

“So many people ask how I’m going to do it,” said Cosgray. “I’m not assigning a gender to it,” she said.

She has considerable experience in theater, performing in 11 of the 12 productions offered during her four years of high school. Facing graduation in less than a month, Cosgray is set to study nursing at Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville. She chose the school because they have an excellent theater program open to non-theater majors.

The show presents some challenges to actors and designers. The entire story takes place in an apartment, requiring creative set designs. The actors need to overlap the reality of being an actor playing an actor playing a character. 

WHS senior Patience McKenzie is up for the challenge of playing Janet van de Graaff, a sassy woman who is full of herself.

“I feel like theater is an awesome outlet for being someone you’re not necessarily comfortable being or someone you would love to be,” said McKenzie, who hopes to continue in community theater following high school.

Opening weekend was April 9 and 10, and Walker expects the April 21 and 22 weekend will be even better.

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