Review: Audience treated to show-within-a-show at Ryle High

The Roaring Twenties, a decade of flappers and speakeasies, came to life Friday night through Larry A. Ryle High School’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The show follows an eccentric Broadway fanatic, simply referred to as Man in Chair, as he plays his favorite Broadway record, “The Drowsy Chaperone.”  Audiences indulged in the heartfelt nature that is this classical masterpiece.

This show-within-a-show concept was imagined by no other than the impeccable Bob Martin and Don McKellar, with complementary music composed by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. The original idea, conceived in 1997, was written for a bachelor party and featured significantly more risqué content.

Man in Chair, portrayed by senior Eric Harrell, touched audiences as he glided through his challenging monologues keeping the show upbeat and entertaining. If the cast’s pace ever slowed, Harrell was there to speed things up again. His personal quirks added to his character, making his performance extremely memorable.

Abby Palen took on the iconic role of the Drowsy Chaperone with fantastic stage presence and preciousness. Her character, the drunkard of the show, truly represented the iconic flapper of the 1920s with drink consistently in hand. While Palen added snippets of herself to the character, she stayed true to the script and captured the attention of all audience members.

Aldolpho, the Latino lothario, was played by the hysterical Jacob O’Brien, who had impeccable comedic timing and kept the audience in a constant state of hysteria. With a costume to fit his personality, O’Brien confidently kept the show comedic and upbeat.

The sound team at Ryle High School deserves immense recognition. Though a few mishaps occurred during the first act, the team worked together to execute a nearly perfect second act. The show was fortunate to have such an efficient sound team.

Altogether, Ryle High School came together to present a comedic musical full of heart that kept audiences entertained while journeying back to the Roaring Twenties.

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