‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ brings music, comedy to Springfield

Bradley Campbell was wide awake and clear-headed on what he wanted his stage directing debut to be.

Since seeing “The Drowsy Chaperone” in New York, it was the musical comedy he wanted to share with others.

He’ll have the chance when the Springfield Civic Theatre presents “The Drowsy Chaperone” at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center’s Turner Studio Theatre.

Having directed the Civic Theatre’s Boar’s Head Feaste the past three winters, Campbell isn’t a newcomer to stage productions. He’s also choreographed several shows for the Junior Civic Theatre.

When asked to direct for a production, he went straight to the board and enthusiastically requested “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“It’s a musical within a comedy or comedy within a musical, either way, the dialogue is hilarious and there’s great character development,” said Campbell.

The show features a closed -off Broadway fanatic who escapes through a recording of his favorite fictional musical comedy. His small, drab apartment is then transformed into a Broadway stage with a large cast and all that goes with it.

Sometime during the show, the lead character and the audience share a realization that changes things according to Campbell.

“It becomes a totally different view, a connection between the audience and the man almost instantaneously happens,” Campbell said.

The cast includes 19 performers and about six on the production side. Campbell was pleasantly surprised to find about half of those who auditioned he’d never met with and about half cast he’d never worked with before, which he welcomed.

“It has been fantastic because of that uniqueness,” he said.

Campbell attributes it to word of mouth and social media as he travels around the area to share his art and absorb others’. Those involved not just from Springfield, but Xenia, Yellow Springs and Madison County.

In addition to directing, Campbell is also choreographing the show along with Stephanie Jenkins. Tom Kushmaul is doing the music.

He also credited those who back Springfield Civic Theatre, such as the Turner Foundation and the staff at Clark State.

“There are so many people who help in making a show function and thrive. This is true community theater,” Campbell said.

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