Aurora opens musical comedy 'The Drowsy Chaperone'


Photo: Craig Cappy Caitlin Smith as Kitty, Greg Bosworth as Robert Martin, and Courtney Patterson as The Drowsy Chaperone cut the rug in a dance number during the performance of The Drowsy Chaperone at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville.


Photo: Craig Cappy The entire troupe, sing in act one "As We Stumble Along" during the performance of The Drowsy Chaperone at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville.


Photo: Craig Cappy Ben Toler, left, and Jon Wierenga, right, pick up Liberty Cogen as Janet Van de Graff during the performance of The Drowsy Chaperone at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville.

If You Go

What: “The Drowsy Chaperone”

When: 8 p.m. today, runs through April 14. Times vary.

Where: Aurora Theatre, 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville

Cost: $25 to $35

For more information: Visit www.auroratheatre...

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The 1920s was a time of economic growth, expanding use of automobiles and the rise of the Jazz Age, celebration after the end of World War I that lasted until the party came crashing down in 1929. On the lighter side, there were entertainers to put smiles on people's faces, including musicals.Case in point: "The Drowsy Chaperone."

This musical is a winner of five Tony Awards and pays homage to the JazzAge shows of the 1920s that lifted spirits during the Great Depression. It opens this weekend at the Aurora Theatre.

"Some of the most rewarding experiences for me as a producer have come from working on new musicals," said Aurora's Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriguez. "With last season's success of the world premiere of 'Clyde 'n Bonnie: A Folktale' or in 2010 when we produced the first post-Broadway production of 'A Catered Affair,' Aurora is cultivating a national reputation with new musicals. 'The Drowsy Chaperone' is full of show-stopping numbers, and because the show is so new, the comedy is contemporary and not dated. It is a really fun show."

The comedy follows "Man in Chair" (played by Steve Hudson), a die-hard musical theater lover who takes the audience through a journey as he plays "The Drowsy Chaperone" on his record player. He lets the crowd know what's going on at all times.

"It was a great concept," Misty Lundy of Snellville said. "I thought it was really good for him to sit off to the side and explain the record. I've never been to a show like this."

And the show follows a couple, Robert (Greg Bosworth) and Janet (Liberty Cogen), who are to be wed. Robert's best man George (Nick Morrett) is there to make sure everything is perfect.

And it will be, as long as Janet's -- perpetually intoxication -- chaperone (Courtney Patterson) keeps the blushing bride-to-be away from the clumsy groom.

Needless to say, this whole story shows that life is an "Accident Waiting to Happen" and the drowsy chaperone fails at her task at hand.

The zany characters are in and out of the scenes creating chaos and drama -- some are even trying to break up the future wedding.

"Oh man, I didn't know what we were getting in to," Grayson resident John Roop said. "I came in thinking it was going to be a serious play and it turned out that I love it."

His daughter Heather Roop of Atlanta added, "It was a blast. The whole time during the show dad kept going, 'Oh, did you get that?' to make sure I didn't miss anything. And of course ... Courtney Patterson was awesome. I had to throw that in there. "

Beside singing and dancing on the stage, Musical Director Ann-Carol Pence played the piano and conducted the live nine-piece band. Most audience members didn't even realize it was live music performed for the show.

"There was a live band?," Lundy said with a laugh. "I thought (Pence) was just doing great on the piano and that everything (recorded) blended perfectly."

The show runs through April 14.