ACP’s season closes with musical comedy ‘Drowsy Chaperone’

  • Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013 11:51 p.m.
Staff photo by Stephanie Turner 
The cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” surrounds Kasie Granner, who plays Janet, sitting. Also pictured are Lisa Tharp-Bernard, Tom Nance, Michele Kellrooney, Jamie Turner, Elizabeth Cahill, Sarah Cushman, Adam Shults, who is also the show’s choreographer, Tim McFall and John Gillespie.
Staff photo by Stephanie Turner The cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” surrounds Kasie Granner, who plays Janet, sitting. Also pictured are Lisa Tharp-Bernard, Tom Nance, Michele Kellrooney, Jamie Turner, Elizabeth Cahill, Sarah Cushman, Adam Shults, who is also the show’s choreographer, Tim McFall and John Gillespie.

Patrick Williams and Brad King stole the stage when Aiken Community Playhouse opened with its comedic yet “raunchy” musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” in September.

Now, Jamie Turner and Kasie Granner will be two of the leading ladies to close out ACP’s season with its play-within-a-play, musical comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“It will be explained during the play,” said director Juli Davis about the play.

Perhaps, it’s because the show is not set up like a typical musical. The Woman, i.e. the narrator played by Turner, will take the audience through her favorite childhood musical, called – you guessed it – “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Turner, as she plays “Drowsy” on her record player, narrates the story to the audience. And, as she narrates, the musical comes to life – right in her very own apartment.

“She interacts with the cast, but they never see her,” Davis said. “They are in her imagination.”

However, when Turner has something important to say, she will stop the record, the actors will freeze, and all attention will be on her.

And when she’s done, she will resume the show.

This is where Granner comes in. Granner plays Janet, the “quintessential ingenue,” as her co-star Betsy Wilson-Mahoney put it. Janet is a starlet who falls in love. Now, she wants to give up her career to be married to a man she barely knows – Robert, played by Tim McFall.

Granner is new to the Playhouse but has acted in Greenville before she came to Aiken.

“I was a 3-year-old with a bowl cut in my first play,” she said, and she has been in theater ever since, mainly sticking to musicals.

Mahoney, on the other hand, has been with the Playhouse for 37 years, her first role being Wendy in “Peter Pan.”

Mahoney plays The Drowsy Chaperone, the woman who has to look after Janet.

Though their backgrounds might be different, there is one thing the two actors share – both come from a strong theatrical family.

Granner’s mom is a director, brother is a lighting designer and grandfather is a set builder. You can find Mahoney’s mother’s picture at the Playhouse in the cast of “South Pacific,” and her daughter, a recent college graduate, is involved in theater, as well.

“It’s what’s made us so close,” Granner commented, thinking about all the rehearsals and theater-related moments she and her family have shared.

Joining them on stage will be Sallye Rich as Tottendale, Tom Nance as Feldzieg, Lisa Tharp-Bernard as Kitty, Billy Bernard as the Underling, John Gillespie as George, the best man, Sarah Cushman as Gangster One, Elizabeth Cahill as Gangster Two, Adam Shults as Aldolpho and Michele Kellrooney as Trix.

“I’ve learned years ago, as long as you surround yourself with a good cast and a good crew, (directing) is not difficult,” Davis said. “I was very lucky with the people I was able to cast in these parts.”

This is Davis’ first time directing a musical; before now, she has only acted in and assisted in directing them. The first play she directed was “A Christmas Story.” She has been with the Playhouse for 13 years.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” opens Friday at 8 p.m. and has no intermission. The show also runs Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m., as well as May 31, June 1, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., and June 2 at 3 p.m. The show contains adults themes.

URS Center for Performing Arts is at 126 Newberry St. S.W.

To purchase tickets, call 803-648-1438 or visit www.aikencommunityplayhouse.com.

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