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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010 7 years ago

The multitasker

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

The only sign of drowsiness right now at The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre comes from the twin boys who are asleep in a playpen in Kyle Ennis Turoff’s office.

The actress-turned-director’s office is not located in the front of the Golden Apple, but in the back, near the dressing rooms.

Her boys, Avery and Kennedy, born October 2008, have clearly taken over Turoff’s office.

Born just five days after the Turoff-directed “Golddiggers of 1633” opened at the Golden Apple, Turoff now brings her boys to work every day. Like a true supermom, she downplays this juggling act.

“It’s great that I can be there for them,” she says. “It’s not so great when I’m trying to get other things done — like work.”

Although the rest of Sarasota seems to have slowed down for the summer, Turoff has spent the last two months directing and performing in “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

The musical, which opened June 4, has been such a runaway success the theater has extended the show twice. Turoff, the daughter of Golden Apple owners Roberta MacDonald and Bob Turoff, is the musical’s director and title character — the drowsy chaperone.

“I’m drowsy-drunk, not drowsy-sleepy,” Turoff says. “I play a character in the days of the prohibition, when there’s a lot of alcohol around.”

This isn’t the first time Turoff has performed in and directed a show at the Golden Apple. In 2005, she donned both hats in “Footloose.”

“It’s tough, but it’s also a lot easier,” Turoff says. “If I’m directing a show and I’m not in it, I get extremely nervous. At least when I’m in the show, I can do something to help.”

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” which was originally written as a spoof on old musicals of the Jazz Age, is beloved for its score, which won a Tony Award in 2006.

It opens with a pitiful character, known simply as The Man in Chair, who puts on his favorite Broadway record to help snap him out of a funk. While the man listens to each song, larger-than-life characters from the musical — gangsters disguised as butlers, showgirls disguised as French temptresses — begin to take over his shoebox apartment.

“It’s very layered,” Turoff says. “You’re not only playing the actor, you’re playing the character who is playing the actor.”

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is like the Russian nesting doll of musical theater. It’s a show-within-a-show. And like Turoff herself, a likeable, well-rounded sensation.

dream project

‘The Light in the Piazza’
Set in the summer of 1953, in Rome and Florence, Italy, “The Light in the Piazza” is about a young American tourist who falls in love with an Italian — to the dismay of her mother.

Based on a 1960 novella by Elizabeth Spencer, the musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and ran for 500 performances.

“It’s a beautiful show,” Kyle Ennis Turoff says. “(It’s) a very simple, uncluttered piece, but I’m not sure anyone would come and see it.”

if you go

“The Drowsy Chaperone” runs through Aug. 1, at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. Tickets are buy-one-get-one-free. For more information, call 366-5454 or visit

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