Tommy Iafrate is directing one of his favorite productions.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” opened last Thursday at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre and Iafrate, the associate artistic director, is at the helm.
Last Wednesday night, Tommy was trying to make sure everything was ready for the following night’s opening performance. On Wednesday, cast and crew ran through the production so he could take notes to see what still needed work. A 7:30 p.m. final dress rehearsal was planned as well.
At 6:30 p.m., Tommy escorted actress Colleen Johnson to that night’s Clinton LumberKings game. Johnson, who is playing the title character in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” was set to perform the national anthem. Tommy said the Showboat does this before the opening of each production. The only other time he has escorted anyone to the game was last year with the interns of “High School Musical.”
This is Tommy’s second year at the Showboat. Last year he served as the intern director. This year he returned to the newly created position of associate artistic director.
He will work on a few of the shows and will help wherever the company needs him.
Tommy fell in love with “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a couple of years ago and it is one of his favorites.
While Johnson is waiting to sing, Tommy offered her words of encouragement. He ran a statement about Johnson and the production to the office to be read before the anthem. Tommy greeted Johnson with praise after she finished and they headed back to the theater.
Once back at the theater, at 7 p.m., Tommy grabbed his laptop and headed backstage to talk to the cast and crew. Set crew worked on some set pieces and some more work was finished later that night. Tommy stopped to check on the set, before going backstage into the dressing area.
Backstage, actors sat to get their makeup done or got into costume. Others practiced lines. A table was filled with various props ready to be used in the show.
Opening up his laptop, Tommy went from person to person, talking about their performance and giving notes. He gave actors tips on how to deliver their lines. He talked to Johnson about the use of some of her props, including a flask she pulls out during the first song.
By 7:30 p.m., the cast and crew were not quite ready to start. Two of the cast members were trying out a piece of the setting to see if it worked correctly. Crew members attempted to hang a mirror, while others cleaned up the stage. Tommy talked to different crew members about different pieces of the set and props.
Near 8 p.m., everyone was ready to start. Tommy picked a seat in the audience to watch. Each night he tries to sit in a different location.
On Wednesday, he was several rows back on stage with his laptop open so he could take notes. After the rehearsal, he gave his final notes before the show opened to the public.