Cal U sets the stage for their spring play ”The Drowsy Chaperone”

‘The drowsy chaperone’ is set to be the first play since COVID-19.


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Man in Chair, played by Elijah Gilbert (center), anticipates the marriage of Janet Van de Graaff, played by Amanda Peters (left), and Robert Martin, played by Shane Callahan.

Veonna King, Editor-in-Chief

Cal U’s theatre is coming back with a jazzy start featuring the Drowsy Chaperone as their spring play. The play will begin at 7 p.m. April 7-9 and 2 p.m. April 9-10. Michele Pagen, who is directing the show at Cal U’s Steele Hall theatre, said that the play is funny and will be able to be enjoyed by audiences of 13 and up.  

“The play is fun for the cast, and the audience will have a fun time watching it,” said Pagen.  

 The play revolves around “The Man in Chair,” a boring, anxiety-filled Broadway fanatic who, to ease his “non-specific grief,” listens to a recording of The Drowsy Chaperone, a fictional 1928 musical comedy. He is transported into the show as he listens to this unique recording. His shabby apartment is turned into an outstanding Broadway stage with footlights, gleaming furnishings, painted backdrops, and glamorous costumes when the characters appear.  

Main Character “The Man in the chair”, is played by Elijah Gilbert. Gilbert is a Cal U senior. Gilbert describes his character as a hermit with a passion for musicals. Gilbert describes having to do extensive studying for this role. Especially since the first five minutes of the play are just him talking.   

“I went through a lot of watching the original Broadway cast, and a lot of sitting and memorizing the text,” said Gilbert.   

As the play continues throughout the apartment, the play becomes centered around two characters Robert Martin and Janet Van De Graaf. Janet Van De Graaf is played by Cal U senior Amanda Peters. Character Van De Graaf is a Star of Feldzieg’s Follies. Follies were extravagant Broadway performers that were typical of high-class musicals from the 1900s through the 1930s. Van De Graaf is conflicted about giving up her life on the stage to marry Robert Martin. Robert is played by Cal U senior Shane Callahan. Robert Martin is the upcoming groom who is madly in love with Janet.   

Callahan hopes that the audience gets to leave with their own personal experience of love and happiness from the play.  

“I just hope that they take away the laughter and happiness that the show creates, said Callahan.  

This performance will be the first at Cal U since “Elf” in 2019. There are 7 p.m. performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April, and 2 p.m. performances on Saturday and Sunday. 

For tickets, visit or call the Cal U box office at 724-938-5943.