A Behind-the-Scenes Look at RMTC’s Production of “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Photo by Serena Harding. Courtesy of RMTC.

Vibrant and excited, this year’s Ryerson Musical Theatre Company (RMTC) cast gathered in a circle with director Braelyn Guppy for an intimate town hall meeting. In the midst of their typical eight-hour Sunday rehearsal, the group was unusually energized.

“For me, life isn’t just school; it’s about taking and making opportunities. That could be joining a student-run group or going to see a production like The Drowsy Chaperone,” says third-year fashion communications student and ensemble member Amanda Ho.

Last winter, the RMTC  produced their first show, Thoroughly Modern Millie, captivating audiences with the story of a young girl in search of a new life in New York City during the roaring ‘20s.  This year, the company returns to stage with The Drowsy Chaperone.

Photo by Cindy Long. Courtesy of RMTC.

The musical centres on a middle-aged asocial musical theatre fan as he plays the record of his favourite musical and comments in a satirical manner. Third-year business management student and crew member Rachel Anyetei recommends The Drowsy Chaperone to “anyone who enjoys wry, satirical humour.”

Choreographer Einav Ne’eman says, “The show is quirky and witty and pokes fun at musical theatre stereotypes in the most loving way. It’s a feel-good show sure to make anyone crack a smile and maybe even shed a little tear!”  

Ne’eman found out about the RMTC in her second year of studying radio and television arts (RTA). She had always been involved in community theatre in her hometown and was disappointed to discover scarce options for young students looking to perform recreationally. When she found out about RMTC, she auditioned to be a part of the Thoroughly Modern Millie cast and was “thrilled to become a part of the theatre family.”

The production process began last April with choreographing and costume design, shortly after finishing Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ne’eman worked closely with Guppy to create an overall vision for each dance, piecing together each number until a final draft was completed. The process included extensive revisits and test runs to ensure everything was ready to go for rehearsals. Rehearsals began in October and consisted of eight-hour sessions each Sunday as well as field trips.

Photo by Cindy Long. Courtesy of RMTC.

However, the draft is never quite final. “The tweaking process even continues into the rehearsal stage; it’s often easier to tell if choreography is suitable when actually watching the dancers act it out,” said Ne’eman.

“It’s an added responsibility for sure,” said first-year professional communications student and ensemble member Paige Mpeletzikas. “We only rehearse once a week so you have to run through harmonies and perfect your choreography on your own time. It becomes a part of your everyday life,”

The cast and crew members come from a diverse range of programs, such as sociology, RTA, business management and computer science. The RMTC celebrates diversity and inclusion by welcoming everybody, standing out against other student groups directed towards niche audiences.

The combination of glitzy costumes, an energetic cast and lively anthems will draw you in as the intricate Broadway tale unfolds.

The Drowsy Chaperone will play on from March 8 to March 11 at the Ada Straight Hall. For more information, visit their Facebook page. Tickets can be purchased here.