LCCC to stage first musical in 20 years with ‘Chaps!’

Photo of the CHAPS rehearsal with two actors dressed in cowboy gear raising their hands while singing.CHEYENNE, Wyoming – For the first time in nearly two decades, Laramie County Community College is presenting a musical on its stage, showcasing the quirky, feel-good comedy “Chaps!”

“Chaps!” is set in 1944 in a BBC broadcast studio in London where the station staff is preparing for the American group Tex Riley’s Singing Cowboys, scheduled to perform in a special radio broadcast to lift morale during World War II. The singing cowboys, however, are not able to make it for the live broadcast and comedy ensues as the British radio staff must attempt to sing the cowboy songs.

Whether someone is a fan of the old-time country songs in the show or the absurd comedy that comes from the clash of cultures and role reversals, the musical will have something for everyone in the audience.   

“British humor is the humor of understatement and American humor is more focused on exaggeration, and we have a lot of both going on,” said Jason Pasqua, LCCC Theatre instructor. “Think of it like ‘The Lone Ranger’ meets ‘Monty Python.’”

The audience will be transported to 1944 via the stage, where production crews have crafted an intentionally conceived and detail-oriented set. Pasqua said the students behind the scenes have created an extraordinary setting, enriching the audience's immersion into the story.

In helping to bring viewers into that world, LCCC music students will also be on the stage to create the experience of having a live, in-studio ensemble, as would have been the case in the mid-20th century. 

A great deal of the most interesting comedy, Pasqua said, contrasts humor with serious subjects. Set against the backdrop of humanity’s most disastrous conflict, the humorous calamity on the stage will prompt serious reflection among audience members. 

“It’s during a period with an interesting aesthetic and it has some moments with real heart — we can’t forget that,” Pasqua said. “This is a British broadcast for the troops and that can carry important meaning.” 

"Chaps!" was written by Johnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner, who embedded catchy tunes and comedic situations appealing to audiences of all ages with a family-friendly show.

Performances of “Chaps!” will be at 7:30 p.m. on Apr. 18-20 and Apr. 25-27 in the Surbrugg/Prentice Auditorium on the LCCC Cheyenne Campus. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at lccc.wy.edu/theatretickets. More information is available by emailing boxoffice@lccc.wy.edu.