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posted: 8/1/2013 11:18 AM

Fremont Street Theater Company's to stage 'Drowsy Chaperone'

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  • John B. Boss is the "Man in Chair" in the Fremont Street Theater Company's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."

      John B. Boss is the "Man in Chair" in the Fremont Street Theater Company's production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."
    Courtesy of John Congram and Fremont Street Theate

 
Courtesy of Fremont Street Theater Company

"The Drowsy Chaperone," the Fremont Street Theater Company's second production, will open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Cutting Hall, 150 E. Wood St., in Palatine. The show will run Aug. 9-11 and 16-18 for a total of six performances.

A relatively newer musical script, "The Drowsy Chaperone" debuted in 1998 in Toronto and then 2006 on Broadway. This Tony-award-winning "show within a show" was originally created as a parody on musical theater as a gift for Robert Martin and Janet Van De Graaff on the occasion of his bachelor party.

The story is told by the "Man in Chair," a quasi-recluse enamored with the great jazz musicals of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. The show opens in his apartment as he decides to crank up his old record-player and listen to his favorite musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone," which then unfolds in front of the audience right there in his apartment.

The story includes all of the elements of the great musicals of that era: music, drama, comedy and lively Broadway dance numbers, along with the typical cast of characters, including the starlet, her oil-tycoon fiancÚ, the Broadway producer who doesn't want her to give up the stage for married life, the chaperone whose job it is to keep the two lovers apart the day of their wedding until the ceremony (and is a little "drowsy" from the alcohol she sneaks during Prohibition), the Latin lover interested in her, and two mobsters disguised as pastry chefs.

Returning for this second production, Fremont Street founder and local attorney and musician Sandy Sandquist managed to bring back the same veteran production team that produced last year's inaugural show, "Anything Goes" -- Director Madeline Franklin; musical director Ken McMullen and choreographer Dina DiCostanzo.

An energetic production involving more than 40 people, cast members include the talent of John B. Boss of Chicago as the "Man in Chair." Boss comes to "The Drowsy Chaperone" after just finishing in June a British tour of "Persuasion," a musical drama with the Chamber Opera of Chicago.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" opens with the entire company championing Sandquist's time-honored showbiz motto, "The show must go on," after his untimely passing July 6 after only a three-week bout with cancer.

Says director Franklin about Sandquist, "There are those in your life whom you meet and feel as if you've known them forever. Sandy was one of those people. He made an enormous impact on me and will be sorely missed in the local theater community."

Fremont Street Theater Company, co-founded by Sandquist and wife Colleen, will dedicate this production as a tribute to him.

Performances will be AT 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 9, 10, 16, and 17, and 3 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 11 and 18.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at the Cutting Hall Box Office. Cost is $18 for adults in advance, $20 at the door; $16 for students and seniors in advance, $18 at the door; groups of 10 or more $15 in advance for same performance.

To purchase tickets, call the Cutting Hall Box Office at (847) 202-5222; visit cuttinghall.org; or visit the box office, 150 E. Wood St., Palatine, during regular office hours, 2-6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

For information on the show, join the Facebook Group, Fremont Street Theater Company at www.facebook.com; visit fremontstreettheater.com; contact Colleen Sandquist, producer, at (847) 963-8303; or email fremontstreettheater@gmail.com.

Fremont Street Theater Company is an Illinois nonprofit organization whose mission is "to enrich, educate, and entertain the community through the experience of exceptional live theater.

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