theatrejax logolongest running

Drowsy Chaperone

Book by Thornton Wilder

Theatre Jacksonville continues its Summer Classic in San Marco Series with Our Town by Thornton Wilder! Hailed as one of the greatest American plays ever written and groundbreaking for its time, Our Town is an account of everyday life in the small fictional town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire. This American classic follows the lives of the Gibbs family, the Webb family, and their neighbors in the early 20th century and is narrated by the Stage Manager, who speaks directly to the audience. He describes the town, gives pertinent facts about Grover's Corners, and provides introductions to the characters as the story of the courtship and marriage of George Gibbs and Emily Webb unfolds. Brilliant in its minimalism and simplicity, there are also influences of classic Greek drama to be found: the Stage Manager as Chorus and the three-act structure as trilogy. Like its Greek ancestors, Our Town concerns itself with the continuing cycle of life and humankind's quest for greater understanding of eternity.

Our Town premiered in 1938, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and has become one of the most produced plays in the world. In fact, it recently received critical acclaim in a riveting off-broadway production - still relevant, absorbing and moving 71 years after it was written. It was last seen on the Theatre Jacksonville stage in 1965.

The central values of the play -- morality, community, the family, -- are conventional. However, the ways in which Wilder integrated these values into the work were most definitely outside the theatrical norms of his day and because of his innovation, an iconic piece of theatre was created. Minimalist scenery and props, mimed actions, and a main character who easily slides in and out of the action of the play were the components of a radical departure from the mainstream theater at a time when productions were known for their lavishness. It is this non-traditional approach that enables the audience to focus on the characters themselves and their stories rather than on their less important surroundings. These essential staging elements are at the heart of our Our Town as we bring this remarkable American Classic to life as the first production of Theatre Jacksonville's 92nd season.

Our talented cast includes Rick deSpain, Bradley Akers, Mark Roberts, Kara Matthews, Kaiya Matthews, Brenda T. Chapman, Jason Canning, David Eger, Michael Fisher, Jackson Roberts, Bobby Parker, Annie Garner, Kayce Clark, Bill White, Sarah Bartlo, Jacob Sims, Joshua Taylor, Robert Blade, Gray Houston, Matthew Ubl, Jennifer Carter, Virginia Pierce-Kelly, Lindsey Weirich, and Martha Lange. Andrew Dickson returns to Theatre Jacksonville to direct Our Town and is joined by Costume Designer Kimberley Rowan, resident Lighting Designer Jeffrey Wagoner, Foley artist Nick Despres and Stage Manager Lori Drake.

August 19, 20, 21*, 25**, 26, 27, 28*,
September 1**, 2, 3, 2011

Study Guide


vampire button postercharlie_01ourtown_02ourtown_03ourtown_04ourtown_05ourtown_06ourtown_07ourtown_08ourtown_09ourtown_10ourtown_11ourtown_12ourtown_13

photos courtesy of
Laura Evans

Theatre Jacksonville programs are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council,
the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Jacksonville, and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Inc.