Until last weekend, the first thing most people might have noticed about Scarsdale High School senior Sam Gonzalez was his hair.
It was something to behold: He hadn’t cut it since June and it had grown into long, kinky locks that added inches to his height.
Not this weekend.
Gonzalez plays Robert Martin, a 1920s leading man, in Scarsdale’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
He needs to look the part, so the fro and had to go.
Talk about sacrificing for your art.
Adrienne Meyer’s cast has been preparing the toe-tapping, Tony-winning, family friendly musical for weeks.
“Drowsy” tells the story of Man in Chair, whose love of musicals is so infectious that when he plays one of his favorite records — 1928’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” — it springs to life in his apartment, filling the stage with memorable characters.
“I love musicals as much as Man in Chair does,” says Scarsdale senior Sam Harris.
Still, he says it wasn’t until well into rehearsals that “I began to fully grasp what’s going on and how fun the show is.”
There’s Janet Van De Graaff (sophomore Sophie Laruelle), the star who may or may not be ready to give it all up for the man she loves.
Janet’s song, “Show Off” — in which she displays her considerable talents —?is a showstopper, with an encore.
“There are a lot of components to it,” Laruelle says, “but we’ve been working on it and it’s coming together.”
Her man, the close-cropped Robert Martin (Gonzalez), acts, sings and tap dances. Oh, yes, and he roller skates blind-folded — in a delightful song, “Accident Waiting to Happen.”
There’s the dim dowager, Mrs. Tottendale (junior Justine Gelfman) and her butler, Underling (senior Adam Sperber), who trade spit takes like vaudevillians.
“The show is essentially a farce on traditional Jazz Age musicals,” Gelfman says, “so it’s been fun looking at how comedy was used back then and applying it to your acting technique.”
Senior Becca Zipurksy plays Trix the Aviatrix, a high-flying character whose purpose isn’t fully understood until the play’s end.
(“It’s kind of a deus ex machina moment,”?she says.)
Senior Greg Seiden plays hard-charging producer Victor Feldzieg, who wants to keep Janet a star, if only to keep his mob backers at bay. His girlfriend Kitty (junior Emma Miller), is waiting for her big break.
Gangsters disguised as bakers — senior Rebecca Erde and sophomore Sunny Feinstein — unapologetically spout pastry puns.
Senior Lauren Bender plays the drowsy chaperone, in an age when “drowsy” meant something else.
“It’s difficult playing drunk the entire show,” Bender says. “It’s like being there and being in the moment but taking yourself out of the moment.”
Champagne will do that.
Adolpho, the Latin lover played by junior Will Heffner, rarely takes himself out of the moment. He’s nearly always front and center, large and in charge.
“He’s kind of like Antonio Banderas on steroids,” Heffner says.
Andrew Wang, a senior who has tapped for four years, is George, the best man, who has a great tap number, “Cold Feet.”
With all of their work on this valentine to musicals, it’s unlikely there will be many cold feet backstage before this weekend’s performances.
As Man in Chair would put it: “What more do you need for an evening’s entertainment?”
“The Drowsy Chaperone”
Where: Scarsdale High School, 1057 Post Road, Scarsdale.
When: 7:30 p.m., Nov. 19 and 20; 2 p.m., Nov. 21.
Tickets: $20, $10 students and seniors.
With: Sam Harris, Justine Gelfman, Adam Sperber, Sam Gonzalez, Andrew Wang, Greg Seiden, Emma Miller, Rebecca Erde, Sunny Feinstein, Will Heffner, Sophie Laruelle, Lauren Bender, Becca Zipursky, Jordan Thaler, Jason Altabet, Winston Wilson, Lorna Begg, Zoe Berg, Ilana Bookner, Marisa Brown, Rebecca Buchwald, Lilly Claar, Melissa Duarte, Jenna Evans, Caitlin Hayles, Rebecca Jacobs, Ilana Newman, Michelle Ostroff, Rebecca Primoff, Kathleen Rooney, Julia Rutkovsky, Cara Scharff, Lara Tshering.
Photo by Tania Savayan/The Journal News: Sophie Laruelle as Janet Van De Graaff and Sam Gonzalez as Robert Martin, embrace as gangsters Rebecca Erde, center, and Sunny Feinstein, right, get into character during rehearsal for “The Drowsy Chaperone,” the fall musical at Scarsdale High School. At left is Lauren Bender as the title character. Background right are Justine Gelfman as Mrs. Tottendale and Andrew Wang as the best man, George.