Home Broadway star Andrea McArdle to star in production at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre
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Broadway star Andrea McArdle to star in production at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre

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The sun’ll come out this summer when Andrea McArdle takes center stage as the sauced and saucy title character in “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

The hilarious love letter to musical comedy is presented by Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) as part of its 40th anniversary season. SSMT is a professional not-for-profit summer stock on Shenandoah University’s Winchester campus.

McArdle found fame in Broadway’s original production of “Annie,” in which she was the youngest performer ever nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She won the Theatre World and Outer Critics’ Circle awards.

She also starred on Broadway in “Starlight Express,” “State Fair,” was “Belle” in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Fantine” in “Les Misérables.”

Brace yourself for an evening of uproarious laughter and Broadway magic with “The Drowsy Chaperone,” the winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical Score. In this side-splitting comedy, the fervent passion of a die-hard theatre fan unleashes a whirlwind of hilarity as his favorite cast album springs to life, showcasing a riotous ensemble of characters in a musical extravaganza like no other.

“I couldn’t dream of a better way to celebrate our 40th anniversary than to welcome Ms. McArdle to our stage, and in such a wonderful role,” SSMT’s Producing Artistic Director Jeremy Scott Blaustein, who is also featured in the production as “Man in Chair,” said. “The character of the Chaperone is described as a woman ‘known for her rousing anthems.’ Ms. McArdle is perfect casting and she’s going to be a sensation.”

The production, which plays from Friday, July 5, through Sunday, July 14, 2024 will be directed by Edward Carignan (artistic director at Short North Stage in Columbus, Ohio), with choreography from Brandon Kelly (Broadway’s “Come from Away”) and musical direction from Walter Bobby McCoy (3-time Helen Hayes Award winner). Scenic design is by Tony DiBernardo, with lighting by Eric Norbury and costumes by Darcy Kane.

SSMT’s 40th anniversary season opens with “Fiddler on the Roof” (Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 30) featuring Thom Christopher Warren (Broadway’s “The Lion King”) as Tevye and Becca Ayers (Broadway’s “1776,” “My Fair Lady,” “South Pacific,” “Les Misérables”) as Golde. The season will conclude with an inventive production of “The Wizard of Oz” (Friday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 4, with a relaxed performance on Tuesday, July 30).

Tickets are available online or by calling 540-665-4569.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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