If you love music, yearn for the golden days of musical theatre and enjoy a good laugh then you must see “The Drowsy Chaperone” coming to the Toledo Repertoire Theatre June 7 – 23.
Winner of two Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Score, the show is a lively spoof of 1920’s American musical comedy and was a big hit on Broadway. Sub-titled “a musical within a comedy” the clever narrative framework devised by writers Bob Martin and Don McKellar has the musical come to life on stage right before your eyes.
It’s the fantasies of the hilarious Man in Chair leading character that opens the doors to an earlier time of Cole Porter and the George and Ira Gershwin. Lamenting how low Broadway has stooped – and yes, for many people, Elton John is just not Cole Porter – Man in Chair escapes by playing a record of a fictional 1928 musical from which the play gets its title. Of course, Man in Chair in using vinyl, and whether the songs themselves or the medium do it, he is transported to another time.
The drab, dull apartment in which Man in Chair lives is now transformed into a show stage, with gorgeous sets, blazing footlights, beautiful costumes, and living recreations of the original cast. A collection of comedy elements from mistaken identities to over-the-top caricatures lead the audience through the fun. All the play’s characters really are extreme, which is why they are so much fun! The songs themselves are filled with comical lyrics, one of the favorites being “As We Stumble Along,” which is described as a “rousing anthem to alcoholism.”
“The Drowsy Chaperone” had its debut at the Toronto Fringe Festival with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Successful runs at increasingly larger venues in Canada led to productions being mounted on Broadway, in the West End in London, as well as in Japan and Australia. Two North American tours sealed the comedy as a musical theatre repertoire staple.
Founded in 1933, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre entertains the region with solid performances of live theatre under the artistic leadership of Steve Burnette. “The Drowsy Chaperone” will be closing the theatre’s 80th Anniversary Main Stage Season, a fitting tribute for the long-standing support of the metropolitan area community of theatre lovers.
This production will be directed by Deb Calabrese, who also serves as choreographer. Jamie Dauel has the musical and vocal direction duties. Heath Huber will get to sit in the Chair, as Man in Chair, and Dana Pilrose was picked to be the Drowsy Chaperone herself.
With the tireless efforts of its Board of Directors and Volunteers, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre has been able to maintain reasonable ticket prices, and adult single seats are just $25. There are also discounts for seniors, students, and groups. You can buy tickets with easy online purchasing options or phone 419-243-9277.
Don’t miss this local opportunity to enjoy music with some laughs. “The Drowsy Chaperone” is sure to deliver whether or not you’re a fan of musicals!
Photo Credit: Tolelo Repertoire Theatre