‘Drowsy Chaperone’ on Woodford Theatre’s stage
After watching a performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone” by the original Broadway cast, Melissa Rae Wilkeson says she hoped she’d one day have an opportunity to play a role in this show about a fictitious 1928 musical. Her day came last Friday when Woodford Theatre opened its production of the Tony Award winning musical. On the afternoon before opening night last Friday, Wilkeson predicted audiences will walk away with the same feelings she experienced in 2006: “It was just … refreshing; how fun was that?” Pulling off a stage play featuring music and numerous dance numbers involved a lot of hard work for this cast, Wilkeson acknowledges. Rehearsals (six days a week for at least three hours a day) began in August to prepare the cast for all of the different performance elements of this production, she says. Wilkeson credits choreographer Diana Evans Pulliam for making “us look like we know what we’re doing,” continuing to laugh, as she describes herself as “an actor and singer who can move.” Portraying Mrs. Tottendale allows Wilkeson to breathe life into a character originated by Georgia Engel, known to TV audiences as Georgette on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. “So I got to see her on Broadway, which was such a treat,” says Wilkeson. And now she gets to play Mrs. Tottendale, which she says was written for Engel. The Woodford County actor says she couldn’t avoid being like her playing this character with a “flighty” personality. Performances of “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the Woodford Theatre continue with three shows this coming weekend and three more next weekend. Show times are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. A special Thursday, Oct. 17 performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students, and may be purchased online by visiting woodfordtheatre.com or calling the box office at 873-0648.