The Stage is Set

The return of the North Allegheny Spring Musical after two years brings excitement and laughter with The Drowsy Chaperone.

Senior+Gannon+Sprinkle+practices+his+lines+for+his+part+of+Man+in+Chair.+

photo by Jess Daninhirsch

Senior Gannon Sprinkle practices his lines for his part of Man in Chair.

Anna Parsons, Senior Staff Writer

The last time the NASH stage saw a spring musical, the Titanic was sinking while the new virus flipped the world on its head three days after the closing show. After almost two years of adapted musical experiences, the North Allegheny Spring Musical is back in full swing with the production of The Drowsy Chaperone

“I am so pumped to continue high school performances after two long years of waiting in anticipation,” NASH junior Kiran Szymkowiak, who plays one of the male leads, said. “The NA high school musicals are some of the most fun productions I have been a part of.”

However, with the hiatus from yearly spring productions, there are many new obstacles for the directing team and cast to overcome. First and foremost, knowing whether a show in March–that has an early preparation and audition process– would be a possibility was difficult. 

“In September, we planned for a full show. As the musical season began, we were asked to limit seating and not sell concessions in the lobby,” Artistic Director Mr. Tozier said. “We chose The Drowsy Chaperone with the understanding of how this show might work with these limitations.”

And every change affects the normal order of spring musicals that audiences had grown accustomed to before the pandemic. 

“These changes seem little, but they had high effects on what we did, how we did it, and the cast, crew, and orchestra’s feelings of performing in front of a live audience,” Tozier said.

“As we enter into 2022, I still wonder if cases and infection rates will alter our ability to produce The Drowsy Chaperone. I begin this January with the optimistic outlook that things will be better for us than they were in the fall and that we are able to alter our plans if things change,” he concluded.

Another different aspect of this year’s show is that since the last spring musical was in 2020, the current freshmen as well as the sophomores have never experienced a traditional high school production.

“I think this is a super exciting opportunity for so many students to find out how fun an NA high school musical is!” junior Gabriella Cappelloni, who plays one of the female leads, said. “Not only do we have the opportunity to put on a great show, but we also get to have so much fun with the cast.”

We left the stage in 2020 with a tragedy. Let’s bring back live theater with a comedy and change our overall outlook to happiness!”

— Mr. Tozier, Artistic Director

Szymkowiak is thrilled for all the new musical students to participate in their first high school production. 

“The musical provides an opportunity for kids to truly understand each other, the orchestra, crew, directors, and the audience. It is a special experience that so many new people get to be a part of this year,” Szymkowiak said. “I think that the new cast members will add an element of excitement and energy to the show.”

And simply getting back into the groove of doing show after show again is a major adjustment. 

“We don’t remember all of the little pieces that we used to do during the “autopilot” years of producing show after show,” Tozier said. “Mamma Mia, especially, reminded me that there are many things that happen behind the scenes that I simply forgot about.  I struggled with doing many tasks at the last minute. I now have a list and feel more comfortable heading towards March.”

But even with all the difficulties of bringing back the cherished production, the cast, crew, and directing team could not be more thrilled about presenting a brilliantly hilarious show.

“I’m excited for the comedy!” senior, Gannon Sprinkle, another male lead, said. “I’m hyped to have a show people can laugh at and leave with a tune stuck in their head.”

Gabriella Cappelloni is eager for the humor within the music of The Drowsy Chaperone.

“I am most excited for the song ‘Bride’s Lament,’” Cappelloni said. “It is a huge and very comical number that a lot of people are in, so I think that it will be a lot of fun.”

For senior Hannah Oldham, who plays Drowsy Chaperone, the thrill of performing in a spring musical one last time cannot be overstated.

Titanic was one of the last shreds of normalcy before the pandemic hit, so to be back on the NASH stage for a full spring show is going to be a blast,” Oldham said. “The script and music for The Drowsy Chaperone are just so fun and exciting. I can’t wait to get into it and put this show on.”

After two years of being deprived of the excitement of a normal spring musical, the anticipation of its return is enormous. The Drowsy Chaperone is a a wonderfully comical musical, certain to make audiences swell with laughter after two years of struggle. 

“We left the stage in 2020 with a tragedy,” Tozier said. “Let’s bring back live theater with a comedy and change our overall outlook to happiness!”