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Theater Review: "The Drowsy Chaperone" Is A Success At The North Fork Community Theatre

T.J. Clemente

Michael Hipp plays the "Man in the Chair." (Courtesy Photo)

On its grand re-opening, the legendary North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck erupted into thunderous applause for the success of The Drowsy Chaperone, a musical with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. The house was packed with proud local folks who were obviously excited to see the theater back in the high feather of a wonderful musical production. The huge cast of The Drowsy Chaperone definitely delivered a show worthy of the re-opening of this grand venue that recently underwent many exciting renovations. The show was directed by Mary Motto Kalich.

I must start off by naming the huge cast before critiquing what enjoyed the most. The Drowsy Chaperone cast consisted of Glenn Abramowitz, Corinne Araneo, Kelsey Cheslock, John Condon, Nancy DiGirolamo, Mike Drozd, Meghan Duffy, Mike Hipp, Michael Krulder, David Lopez, Katrina Lovett, Eric Momente, Laura Pearsall, Jocelyn Podlas, Kierra Prentiss, Jenna Spates, Marion Stark, Amanda Summers, Haley Unger, and Stuart Whalen.

A special acknowledgement for a job well done to Karen Hochstedler who totally excelled as Musical Director, along with Lorraine Warren producing and Assistant Director Chelsea Chizever. Jenna Spates and Chelsea Chizever choreographed the production, while Dee Andes provided costume design, Mike Hipp led set design and Liz Liszanckie spearheaded set decoration. All in all, great work!

In every production there are one or two actors whose stage presence and star power is obvious to you and the whole audience. Laura Pearsall, who played "The Drowsy Chaperone," owned the night. She totally commanded the stage, and entertained the audience. I am now a fan of hers.

Michael Hipp, as the "Man in the Chair," was endearing and effective in his role as storyteller. I enjoyed his warm wonderful narratives.

You have to acknowledge Michael Krudler's acting, singing and actually doing a scene blindfolded on rollerblades and moving about the stage!

Kelsey Cheslock, who played "Jaqnet Van De Graaff," sang with a beautiful voice that captured the soul of the audience especially when she sang, Show Off.

A big crowd favorite was Michael Drozd as the hilarious "Aldolpho," who kept reminding me of Adam Sandler at his best as "Operaman" on SNL, kudos to you Michael!

However the special force behind this show was the whole North Fork community who donated their time, money and in so many cases their expertise in refurbishing this historic theater.

Director Mary Motto Kalich really gave this show her shine for excellence in effort, performance, and entertainment. The cast including many locals who came to a magical life under the new stage lights under her expert direction. The 11-piece orchestra located down below the stage in the very effective orchestra pit added the wonderful touch of quality live music that made this musical a special type of live show.

The North Fork Community Theatre has an illustrious rich history and there should be no doubt that this production of The Drowsy Chaperone is just the beginning of a new successful chapter for this cozy, lovable, local theater. It was a great full moon evening of live local theater on the North Fork.

Performances of The Drowsy Chaperone be seen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The show will run from Thursday, May 16 through Sunday, June 2. An opening night reception prior to the opening night performance will take place at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25. There will also be Student Rush tickets available for $20 at the box office, beginning 10 minutes before each performance. These tickets are subject to availability.

North Fork Community Theatre is located at 12700 Sound Avenue in Mattituck. For more information, call 631-298-4500 or visit www.nfct.com.

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