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Friday, September 19, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 6/5/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Rep closes its season with ‘Drowsy Chaperone’

BY JULIE NJAIM
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The cast members of 'The Drowsy Chaperone' kick up their heels in a dance number from the production that opens this weekend at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, 16 10th St. The cast members of 'The Drowsy Chaperone' kick up their heels in a dance number from the production that opens this weekend at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, 16 10th St.
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Deb Calabrese is one busy woman who couldn’t pass up the opportunity to direct The Drowsy Chaperone opening this weekend and closing the Toledo Repertoire Theatre’s 80th season.

“I was going to take some time off; my son is getting married soon. Steve Burnette, our artistic director, said ‘Just read this.’ Halfway through I was laughing out loud. I said, ‘I have to do this show.’ It’s so well written, so tongue-in-cheek.”

When Calabrese read the script she knew it would make the list of her top five favorites and painstakingly chose just the right actor for each of the 17 parts. “The cast is so outstanding. We fought hard for the actors. I took my time and cast it strong. There’s not a weak link in the bunch,” she said.

Man in Chair played by Heath Huber is a theater geek who narrates this show within a show from his apartment. He’s obsessed with the fictitious 1920s musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which comes to life through his imagination. The apartment is transformed into the set. The Chaperone is played by Dana Pilrose. Janet played by Hallie Toland is a Broadway star who plans to leave her career to marry Robert Martin, an oil tycoon played by Devon Desmond.

Also in the cast are Eric Hillenbrand as Adolpho, the Latin lover, and Jeff Albright at Feldzieg, the show's producer.

This Bob Martin and Don McKellar musical won five 2006 Tony Awards including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.

“These songs are the type of songs we sing all day long now,” Calabrese said. “Toledo Surprise” is one of her favorites from the score. “It's very clever.”

“The Drowsy Chaperone” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday through June 22 at Toledo Repertoire Theatre, 16 10th St. Additional performances will be at 2:30 p.m. June 16 and June 23 and at 8 p.m. June 20. Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors age 60 and older, and $10 for students. Information: 419-243-9277 or toledorep.org.

Beatle Band

BritBeat will pay tribute Friday to the famous, beloved, and timeless Beatles Friday at the Valentine Theatre.

This theatrical band recreates the image of the Liverpool group that took America by storm in the mid-1960s. BritBeat imitates the mannerisms, accents, costumes, instrumentation, and harmonies of the “Fab Four” — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The three-act multimedia show begins with the Beatles’ early years including The Ed Sullivan Show appearance and hits “Twist and Shout,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “A Hard Day's Night,” “Help,” and “She Loves You.”

The second act recaps the psychedelic portion of the Beatles career when the band traded fitted suits for colorful costumes. Song selections include “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Magical Mystery Tour,” and “Yellow Submarine.”

A musical finale of the later years including “Golden Slumbers,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Let it Be” closes the show.

BritBeat will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at the Valentine Theatre, 400 N. Superior St. Ticket prices range from $30 to $40. Information: 419-242-2787 or valentinetheatre.com.

Please send theater items at least two weeks in advance to jnjaim@theblade.com.



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