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Photos: Port Moody Secondary escapes with 'The Drowsy Chaperone'

Directed by Jesse Meredith, "The Drowsy Chaperone" runs at Port Moody Secondary April 24 to 26.

The spotlight is on the man in the chair.

He is the lonesome, aging, anti-hero whose imagination comes to life when he spins a soundtrack from the old Broadway show The Drowsy Chaperone.

He listens to the fictional musical comedy in his run-down apartment, believing the characters and songs will lift his spirits as his home is transformed.

That’s the premise behind The Drowsy Chaperone, which students at Port Moody Secondary will play out April 24, 25 and 26 for their spring production.

A Canadian musical with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, The Drowsy Chaperone is a work regularly presented in high schools.

The winner of five Tony Awards, the show is not only a love letter to 1920s musicals, it’s also a commentary about connection — something lacking since the pandemic ended, said Grade 12 student Alastair Aligabo, who stars as Man in Chair.

“The show has very powerful messages about memories, loneliness and how we want something bigger in our lives to make us feel happy,” he said.

Aligabo auditioned for the lead part last fall after being cast in the ensemble for Legally Blonde. A band and choir member at Port Moody Secondary, Aligabo said he was encouraged by his family and friends to go for the top role before he graduated high school.

His character’s stage journey is led by Emma Ward who portrays The Drowsy Chaperone to Janet van de Graaff, a bride-to-be who is not supposed to see her groom “but she’s too drunk to care so Janet just does what she wants,” the Grade 12 student said.

A theatre student since Grade 6 in Edmonton (Victoria School of Arts and Broadway Bound), Ward said she was encouraged by drama teacher and director Jesse Meredith to return to the stage in Grade 11; last year, she played Serena in Legally Blonde.

For Moona Milani, “I’m a big fan of theatre and music and everything around it,” she told the Tri-City News last Friday. April 5, during a rehearsal.

"I auditioned to be Janet because she’s lots of fun and loves to entertain. She’s a show-off, too, which is great for the audience.”

Tickets at $15 are now on sale to see The Drowsy Chaperone at Port Moody Secondary (3000 Albert St.). It starts at 7 p.m. in Room 301.