Musical theatre newcomer earns starring role


Photo by Cora Petersen

Senior Dawsen Ragone practices for his role in the musical as Robert Martin while senior Jimmy Nguyen excitedly looks on as the character The Man in the Chair.

Melissa Irish, Features Editor

When the stage lights come on at the start of the spring musical, several actors and actresses will perform in the first show.  However, this year, one of these inexperienced few is in a starring role.

After a friend suggested it, senior Dawsen Ragone tried out for “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the end of first semester, despite not having any previous choir or theatre experience. Much to his surprise, he won the leading role of Robert Martin.

“I thought maybe I could get George or Feldzieg, but other than that, I was aiming for more of a choir part,” Ragone said. “I was just super happy, but also kind of surprised and scared because I’d never done this before.”

In “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Robert Martin is a matinee idol and the groom-to-be of Janet VanDeGraff, whom he is in love with.  However, Janet–portrayed by senior Eleanor Carle–is uncertain if she is willing to give up her life as the leading actress of the Feldzieg’s Follies to marry him.

“I’ve had to do the whole portraying romance before on the marching band field when I was dancing with Maren Schuttler,” Ragone said.  “For me personally, it’s that I’m doing it for the show so it’s not that bad.”

Carle, who has been acting for several years, isn’t quite as comfortable.

“I think I definitely have the unsure thing about the relationship,” Carle said.  “I’ve never done a romantic role, so I just feel kinda awkward.  But I’m sure it’ll work out.”

The director intends to work on their relationship in the upcoming days, as is customary for her.  This shouldn’t be an issue due to the hard work she sees Ragone put in.

“All the feedback I give him, he works with it,” director Marya Lucca-Thyberg said.  “I see him coming prepared, I see him giving his all, I see him working hard to react to other people and figuring out what this character is like.”

Another remark Lucca-Thyberg made mentioned that having a character close to his own personality has probably made Robert Martin an easier role for Ragone to perform.

“Typically I’m a pretty happy person, but it’s just controlling that,” Ragone said.  “He is more of a controlled, calm character but I can be sporadic and I like to make stupid jokes.”

Lucca-Thyberg said she considers acting a skill in that some of it comes naturally and some has to worked on.  Ragone’s and Carle’s skills will be showcased at the Drowsy Chaperone performances for $3 for students and $7 for adults.  The musical will be presented at 7 p.m. on March 16 and 17.