The Drowsy Chaperone is a hilarious modern musical comedy in which an assumedly confirmed bachelor (Martin Burke, The Santaland Diaries) gleefully plays for the audience an LP of his favorite (but never personally seen) 1928 musical by the same name. His dreams of what the musical might have looked like fill his living room with a love story about a beleaguered actress (played by multi-talented “show off” Jill Blackwood, Carousel) who is set to marry her betrothed, despite a frivolous miscommunication and her meddling Broadway producer’s best efforts to sabotage the wedding.
While I am admittedly skeptical about most musicals, this play had me laughing before the lights even came up! The satirical, campy nature of the show allowed for some hysterically large characters to emerge from the tight and talented ensemble. The drunken titular chaperone (Meredith McCall, UrineTown) and the swarthy, politically incorrect Aldolpho (played by a shockingly versatile Jamie Goodwin, Doubt) share a stand-out tango duet. This number is hot on the heels of a show-stopping tap dance between the groom (Matther Redden) and his best man (played in this spectacular performance by choreographer Robin Lewis). And I was absolutely in stitches while watching the highly animated pair of punning pastry chefs/gangsters (Leslie R. Hethcox and Tyler Wallach) sing a threatening baking recipe for a “Toledo Surprise”.
The set wonderfully embodied the grand opulence of the 20s theater right down to the gilded ivy walls. The costumes matched the vibe and there was a particularly well-utilized outfit trotted out midway to “show off” the designer’s creativity (you’ll get it). The lighting design also went far to bestow the overpowering majesty of the Jazz Age Theater upon this mousy man’s living room.
Though the beginning of the second act “devolves” a little bit (you’ll get it), the production as a whole is a wonderful confluence of talent and mirth. You should definitely come see The Drowsy Chaperone if you’re looking for catchy songs and lots of laughs.