|Lark Haunert is the center of attention as Janet van de Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone|
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
Unless you’re from Canada, you’ve probably never heard of Janet van de Graaf, a Canadian improv artist and television actress. But even if you have, you’d never guess that what started out as a spoof of old musicals at her engagement party in 1997 would evolve into a 2006 Broadway musical – The Drowsy Chaperone – about a 1920s musical called The Drowsy Chaperone, in which the lead character is called – wait for it – Janet van de Graaf! Talk about art imitating life!
In the Farmington Players production of Drowsy (April 26 – May 18 at the Barn Theater), Lark Haunert plays her “dream role” of Janet, who she calls “funny and sweet, and while the struggle she faces – giving up the stage for love – is presented as comedy, it is definitely something I identify with.” Although Lark is a model of physical fitness – she is an elite runner and teaches Zumba classes – she says “Janet is one of the more physically demanding roles that I've ever played. Just standing still, her songs require a lot of breath support so putting them together with the dancing has been a challenge that I have really enjoyed pursuing!”
Just like the show’s narrator, the Man in Chair, Lark can relate to “how visceral an experience listening to musicals can be. The Man in Chair takes you through how much he loves The Drowsy Chaperone and how it relates to times and experiences in his life. While the presentation of this is comedic, it is also endearing and heart warming. Not only does the show itself pay homage to the genre, while not taking itself to seriously, it also embodies what I love most about musicals: how the music and story can make us feel, connect with other things that are going on in our daily lives, or allow us to escape them for just a little while and be swept into the music and story.”
Lark knows musical theater lovers will enjoy Drowsy because the show “contains most archetypes in musical theater rolled into a funny story with cute, funny, endearing music, clever dialogue, and lots of dance numbers! It really is a fun and entertaining show that I hope many, many people get to see!”
Lark grew up in Canton and moved back here a few years ago, and is raising her 10 year-old son, CJ. She currently works at the University of Michigan. Lark has really enjoyed her first experience at the Barn: “Performing makes me feel alive, and it has truly been wonderful working with this cast and crew. I am new to the Farmington Barn and everyone has welcomed me with open arms. I am so grateful to have been cast and share the stage with this dedicated, talented and fun group!”
The Drowsy Chaperone has 12 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 26 – May 18. The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing email@example.com or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.