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McLeod Summer Playhouse 'The Drowsy Chaperone' closes out the season.

Byline: Danae DeShazer SIU University Communications

McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) closes its summer season with the glamorous musical spoof "The Drowsy Chaperone."

The production, which runs through Aug. 4 at SIU's McLeod Theater, features area high school students as part of The All Southern High School Theatre Project (ASHSTP), in collaboration with Carbondale Community Arts. Tickets are on sale now by visiting

This show-within-a-show begins when a die-hard musical fan plays his favorite record, "The Drowsy Chaperone," and a forgotten Jazz Age musical comes to life in his living room.

As the overture starts, the musical bursts to life with larger-than-life characters and laugh-out-loud results. The story follows a glamorous follies star who plans to give up her career to marry her true love, while her producer is desperate to keep his showgirl and stop the nuptials at any cost.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" features a book by Bob Martin and Don McKeller with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. This zany musical comedy was the darling of the Tony Awards, winning the most statues in 2006.

"Drowsy' is the perfect musical for theater and music lovers," said Danae DeShazer, director and choreographer for the ASHSTP production. "The story demonstrates the universal healing power of music, and the role it plays in all our lives.

"Our quirky narrator, known simply as the Man in Chair, uses music as an escape from his dull and dreary life. He finds comfort, joy, friendship, love, and the will to survive, all within this silly little record.

"This is a wonderful lesson for all of us, especially in 2019 and in our current state of affairs politically and socially. In times of trouble, we can turn to the arts to heal our wounds and unite our community."

Now in its 23rd year, ASHSTP is a collaboration between Carbondale Community Arts and MSP. The program provides musical theater intensive training and education to high school students in the southern Illinois region.

The culmination of the ASHTSP program is a fully-staged musical theater production that caps the MSP season, with professionally-designed costumes, scenic design, lighting and sound.

At the helm of "The Drowsy Chaperone" is MSP associate artistic director DeShazer, with musical direction by Kevin Smith. It stars Carterville High School 2019 graduates Alexa Boese as starlet Janet Van De Graaf and Lily Jones as The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as Marion High School senior Reed Absher as the Man in Chair.

* Performances will occur at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3 and 2 p.m. Aug. 4. Tickets are available at

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Aug 2, 2019
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