Largest Cast Ever to Appear on Barrette Center Stage
‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’ the five-time Tony-winning valentine to the Jazz Age, will be performed by the Northern Stage Summer Musical Theater Intensive students live on stage at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction, July 25 to 30. Over the course of four weeks, local teens train and rehearse with a professional Northern Stage team to execute a fully produced musical. This top-level theater training program is designed to extend the professional rigor of Northern Stage’s main stage series to young actors and give them the opportunity to push themselves and their abilities to the next level. Tickets are $15 for students and $25 for adults; call 802-296-7000 or visit northernstage.org. The musical follows a Broadway starlet giving up the stage, a pair of jovial gangsters posing as pastry chefs and a singing and dancing ensemble of maids and butlers. ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is a love letter to musical theater with infectious show tunes, huge production numbers and a great story.
Northern Stage assistant artistic director and director of education Eric Love directs. “‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is one of my favorite musicals. I first saw (it) at the New London Barn Playhouse in 2011. The colorful characters, hilarious scenes and toe-tapping production numbers brought me back to the theater three times in a row. Working with this cast of 39 talented young actors … is a dream come true. They are diving into vaudeville scenes, tap dances and roller skating with passion and joy,” he says. The production features area youths ages 12 to 18.
New this season is the Technical Apprentice Program in conjunction with the Summer Musical Theater Intensive, designed to train and inspire technical theater artists of the future. Students ages 14 to 18 train directly with professional staff in sets, props, scenic artistry, costumes, wardrobe, lighting, sound and stage management.
Carol Dunne, producing artistic director for Northern Stage, oversees educational programming. She states, “A serious commitment to educating tomorrow’s theater artists and theater lovers is one of the core values of Northern Stage. In every aspect of our educational programs, from the Summer Musical Theater Intensive, to Shakespeare in the Schools, to our work with adult continuing education, we set out to inspire our students, expand their horizons and empower them to take their Northern Stage education and put it to work in their school and community theater programs.”
Following ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’ Northern Stage’s educational programming will turn to the fifth season of YES: Youth Ensemble Studio, an eight-month experience for students in grades 7 to 12. The YES Company will participate in group nights at the theater with post-show discussions, master classes with cast members and creative teams, and rehearse and perform three productions of their own, culminating in a fully produced musical on the main stage at the Barrette Center for the Arts in the spring of 2018.
Northern Stage is a regional nonprofit professional theater founded in 1997. It has offered more than 115 professional productions of new works, classics and musicals. Annual attendance is now over 30,000.