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Act 1 Concludes Season with “The Drowsy Chaperone”

by Tom McNamara ’92, M’21 Apr 24, 2024
Drowsy Promo 1 NEWS

Photo Caption: (From left) Christian Tuffy as Man in Chair, Abigail Vernon as The Drowsy Chaperone, and Gabrielle Moseley as Janet Van De Graaff in Act 1’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Photo by Jack Lerch.

Act 1 DeSales University Theatre is pleased to announce the final production of its 54th season will be the premiere of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The musical opens on Wednesday, April 24, and runs until Sunday, May 5, on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.

The 2006 Tony-nominated Best Musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” is an “exquisitely honed hymn to the forgotten musicals of yesteryear” (“Variety”). The show opens with a dejected theatre lover who cheers himself up by playing for the audience a record of his favorite musical, a fictional 1928 show. As the record plays, the stage is transformed into an impressive Broadway set, and a parody of a 1920s musical comedy is performed. The theatre lover, invisible to the musical actors, comments on the story, the acting, and the music during the show. 

With a comic story by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and filled with rollicking dance numbers and exuberant songs by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, including “Show Off,” “As We Stumble Along,” and “Love is Always Lovely in the End,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a love letter to musicals of the past.

Valerie Joyce, guest artist and director of the production, is the theatre department chair at Villanova University where she has taught, directed, and designed costumes for the last 30 years.

“‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is a hilarious reminder for audiences of what musical comedies were like before Rodgers and Hammerstein changed the genre by introducing serious themes of social justice with more complex characters and plots,” said Joyce. “Audiences of the 1920s were invited to escape into musical comedies, often with ridiculous lyrics and zany plot twists that featured energetic dancing and rousing songs. ‘Drowsy’ celebrates this past in a delightful way.”       

James V. Raymond, a DeSales graduate and visiting assistant professor of theatre, is the scenic designer, recreating the Jazz Age estate, while guest artist Janus Stefanowicz is the costume designer. Eric T. Haugen, assistant professor and head of design, serves as lighting designer, and Jonathan Cannon, sound designer. Nancy Moser Collins Miles is the music director, and DeSales alumnus Stephen Casey is the choreographer. Nathan Diehl is the conductor.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” opens on Wednesday, April 24, and runs through Sunday, May 5, 2024. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m., and Saturday, May 4, at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $34 for adults and $32 for students and seniors Monday through Thursday and $38 for adults and $36 for students and seniors Friday through Sunday. There are two talkback performances with the cast; one on Tuesday, April 30, following the 9:45 a.m. performance and one after the 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 28, performance.

Following the Friday, May 3, performance, Act 1 is hosting an after-show mock-tail party complete with favors, period (non-alcoholic) drinks, and light refreshments. Students who attend DeSales or any other Lehigh Valley college or university can purchase tickets for $8. Group discounts are available for all performances. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center Box Office at 610-282-3192 or by visiting the website at

To improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, May 4, 2:00 p.m. performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call Box Office Manager Eric Pierson at 610-282-3654, ext. 1, for more information.

The Labuda Center is accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.