Mansfield High School's theater department plans to take its audience back to the 1920s in "The Drowsy Chaperone," and make history of its own as the first high school production at the school district's new MISD Center for Performing Arts."It's a great honor," said Kristy Thomas, Mansfield's theater teacher and the show's director. "The greatest struggle is rehearsing in one location and having the play in another."Designing the interior of a mansion and setting it in the Roaring 20s doesn't intimidate set designer Erin Seeton as much as moving the elaborate set."The details and the scale are the hard parts," the junior said. "We used stencils on the bottom and have scenic painter Courtney Bruce handpainting the swirls on the top (to look like expensive wallpaper). We want it to be really subtle."Because the Center for Performing Arts stage is so much larger than the one at Mansfield High School, Seeton wasn't able to put the whole set together until the scenery was moved to the center last weekend."We're taking it apart, loading it in a truck in pieces and putting it back together," she said. "I'm worried that something is going to go wrong in the move."One actor, The Man in the Chair, has been rehearsing with only his chair because the high school stage couldn't hold his apartment, Seeton said.Senior Daniel George, as The Man in the Chair, tells the story of the 1920s musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone," at least the way he imagines it."Everything, in a way, is a figment of my imagination," George said. "He's never actually seen (the show). He has the recording of the original cast. My character tweaks his imagination and plays with the fantasy. He's so much more than you think at first."The musical within a musical tells the tale of a chaperone hired to keep a bride and groom apart on their wedding day until the ceremony. Only things don't go exactly as planned."The chaperone is kind of drunk and so she doesn't do a very good job," said senior Megan Broussard, who plays Janet the bride. "She sneaks off to see Robert (the groom). He's blindfolded so I pretend I'm a French girl and flirt with him. And he kisses her. I freak out. When I come back as Janet, I get really upset."Janet is very over-dramatic," Broussard admitted. "She's a Broadway star giving up her career to marry this guy she hardly knows. Every character is over-dramatic and cheesy. They're so different, that's what makes it funny."Broussard, who is also choreographing the dance numbers, knows her musical theater.She already has one Betty Lynn Buckley Award, the equivalent of Broadway's Tony Awards for Fort Worth area high school musicals.Broussard, who took home the award for choreography, was one of six Mansfield High School thespians who earned Buckleys for last year's "Seussical!"Directed by Will Ludlow, a 17-piece live orchestra will provide music for the production's 19 songs. Last year's school orchestra earned its own Buckley award.Junior Meredith Peebles will also be looking for another Buckley as the show's costume designer."We made a ton of dresses," she said. "Almost all the designs we made from scratch. All 30 of the ensemble girls' costumes were handmade by the makeup costume class. I also made the wedding dress."Thomas, as director, won't say she expects to bring home the same half-dozen Buckleys this year, but she's optimistic."Kasey (Vaitekunas, technical director) and I always pick shows based on our talent," she said. "This year's show is as wonderful as all of the shows we've put on the stage."Amanda Rogers, (817) 473-4451@AmandaRogersNM
"The Drowsy Chaperone"
7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
MISD Center for the Performing Arts
1110 W. Debbie Lane
$6 students, $8 adults