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April 17
1930 - Telephone switchboard operator Louise Gipe, heroine of the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster, tries & fails to kill herself over an unrequited love [story]
Louise Gipe


The College of the Canyons theatre department has finalized the cast for its fall production of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and is inviting all community members to don their favorite 1920s era costumes and take part in the Opening Night celebration of this fun-filled song and dance extravaganza.

Best described as a family-friendly show-within-a-show, “The Drowsy Chaperone” begins when a die-hard musical fan plays his favorite cast album, the 1928 smash hit aptly titled “Drowsy Chaperone,” and magically becomes part of the show.

As the production unfolds audiences follow the tale of a celebrity “showgirl” bride and her chaotic wedding day plans, complete with an array of thrills and surprises that are sure to entertain audiences of all ages.

With a cast of characters that includes a producer determined to undermine the nuptials, a lighthearted groom, a Latin lover, a pair of pastry chef gangsters, and of course the producer’s unwitting chaperone, “The Drowsy Chaperone” — written by Bob Martin and Don Kellar with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison — was originally written as entertainment for a wedding celebration in Toronto, Canada.

The production — hailed as a musical within a comedy — later went on to enjoy a successful Broadway run, five Tony Awards and two North American tours.

Next, the COC theatre department will debut its production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” with a cast of students, community members and professional actors who are sure to make this show one to remember.

“Choreographer Shannon Levy-Heath and music director KC Manji and I are so pleased to share this production with audiences,” said Paul Wickline, COC theatre department chair, who is also serving as producer and director of the production. “This enthusiastic and talented cast has embraced the production and will truly entertain audiences as they perform one of the most charming musicals written in the last decade. We can’t wait for opening night!”

Veteran actor Katherine Lench, whose experience includes starring roles in the first national tours of “They’re Playing Our Song” and “Nine,” and the off-Broadway production of “A…My Name is Alice” has been cast in the title role of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” in what will be her first performance in a COC production.

Meanwhile, longtime COC stage actor Daniel Stewart — fresh off his run in “Master Harold and the Boys” at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura — returns to the college to play the role of potential groom, Robert Martin.

“This may be the last chance for local audiences to see Daniel on our stage,” said COC theatre professor and associate producer Andrea Slominski. “This January Daniel will appear in the off-Broadway production of ‘Our Town,’ starring Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt and directed by MacArthur Award-winning director David Cromer.”

The COC theatre department’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” will open Friday, Oct. 21, and run through Sunday, Oct. 30, on the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) main stage. Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and 28-29, and 2 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30.

General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for COC students and senior citizens.

On the production’s Opening Night, the COC theatre department is inviting all audience members to come dressed in their best Roaring ‘20s costumes, suits, fedoras, flapper dresses, pearls, boas and other accessories to help celebrate the production’s opening.

Audience members who arrive in costume will be automatically entered into a raffle for a chance to win one of several fabulous door prizes donated by Santa Clarita Valley merchants.

“Bring the whole family and all your friends to this ‘Great Gatsby’ era night of theatre and fun on the town,” added Slominski.

For more information about the college’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” or to purchase tickets please contact the PAC Box Office at (661) 362-5304 or visit www.CanyonsPAC.com.

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