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Pleasantville Has Fun With 'The Drowsy Chaperone'

Sam Selesnick plays Man in Chair in Pleasantville's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."
Sam Selesnick plays Man in Chair in Pleasantville's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone." Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Sonya McGaffey plays Kitty, a showgirl who can't sing or dance.
Sonya McGaffey plays Kitty, a showgirl who can't sing or dance. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Two gangsters are part of the fun in "The Drowsy Chaperone."
Two gangsters are part of the fun in "The Drowsy Chaperone." Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Even the cast is calling the play "ridiculous."
Even the cast is calling the play "ridiculous." Photo Credit: Sam Barron

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Pleasantville High School's annual spring musical is turning back the clock.

Pleasantville is performing "The Drowsy Chaperone," a musical that breaks down the fourth wall and parodies the musicals of the 1920s.

Performances are scheduled for March 10 at 8 p.m., March 11 at 8 p.m., March 12 at 2 p.m., March 17 at 8 p.m., March 18 at 8 p.m. and March 19 at 2 p.m. at the high school at 60 Romer Avenue.

In the show, a modern day musical theater addict known as 'Man in Chair' starts playing his recording of the 1928 comedy, "The Drowsy Chaperone." The show has many colorful characters including a pair of gangsters, a Latin lover, dizzy chorine, and a chaperone that's had a bit too much to drink.

The play debuted in Toronto in 1998 and on Broadway in 2006 where it ran for 674 performances.

Director Kathleen Donovan Warren said she felt it was time to do a comedy, having done more dramatic plays in recent years.

"It's really silly," Warren said. "It's a farce- a convoluted comedic story."

In keeping with the 1920s theme, there will be a jazz orchestra and performers will be dancing the Charleston, wearing rollerskates and also doing some tap dancing and tango.

"It's completely different than anything we've done," Warren said. "There's a big ensemble which fits our cast. I love doing a comedy and getting to teach comedic timing."

Carina Florio, who plays the titular character, said the show can be summed up in one word: insane.

"It's such a fun show," Florio said. "It's very different. We're doing a lot of slapstick. This show has so much energy."

Florio said she has never played someone like the Drowsy Chaperone, who spends much of the show in a drunken stupor. Besides acting drunk, Florio also has to dance and move around in high heels.

"It's painful," Florio admits.

As a senior, Florio said she is sad knowing this will be her last time performing on stage at Pleasantville, though she plans on studying musical theater in college. She said tears will be flowing when the curtain closes for the final time.

"This has been a big part of my high school experience," Florio said.

Sam Selesnick, a sophomore, plays Man In The Chair, often stopping the show to talk to the audience, providing a running commentary of the events. Selesnick gets a good cardio workout running back and forth between his chair and the stage.

"This has been one of the most enjoyable shows to perform," Selesnick said. "It's really different, it's totally ridiculous. It's going to appeal to a broader audience."

Sonya McGaffey is Kitty, a showgirl who wants to be a star with one problem: she can't sing or dance.  McGaffey said she enjoys playing someone so over the top.  Like her other cast members, she said it's different than what she's done before.

"We're having a really good time," McGaffey, a junior, said. "The cast gets to be more involved."

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