Do you remember Gable and Steins “The Drowsy Chaperone”? A farcical madcap musical all the way from 1928, it was filled with slapstick, rollicking dance numbers, and a happy ending for everybody.
Well, you shouldn’t remember, because The Drowsy Chaperone didn’t exist in 1928.
It does, however, exist today and is set to be produced by Mount Baker Secondary School.
But perhaps I should explain. I will start at the beginning: in 1998.
Way back in the Stone Age that was the nineties, two real life people got married. They were Bob Martin and Janet Van De Graaff. Well, their friends put together a hilarious 1920’s-style musical review for the combined bachelor/bachelorette party, and “The Drowsy Chaperone” was born.
Bob and Janet thought the review was so hilarious that the small production was reworked, and new characters were added, until the show landed on Broadway in 2006.
The show is a love letter to the musical theatre of yesteryear. It introduces us to the nameless and agoraphobic Man in Chair, who lives alone in his New York City apartment, listening to old Broadway cast albums. He invites us into his home, and then bids us to listen to his favorite record: “The Drowsy Chaperone”. He puts it on to play, and the musical comes to life in his apartment, delivering two short hours of hilarity and fun. And that’s all the show is: fun.
During the original Broadway run, the show was a massive success; it took away five Tony awards, and was nominated for eight more. It was received with rapture by the critics, and ran for a very respectable 627 performances, not including previews.
The book was brilliant, adding a touch of pathos to almost insurmountable wit.
Surrounded by a season of more superficial shows, Drowsy displayed a delightful combination of art and audience attraction.
The show is, speaking of audience attraction, a complete contrast from last seasons “Urinetown the Musical”. While some had questioned Urinetown because of its platform of substance over commercialism, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is both brilliant and appealing to any variety of audience.
In Urinetown, the theme revolves around the flippancy of man towards the environment. In Drowsy, the theme revolves around mistaken identities and the nonsense of a wedding day.
In Urinetown, people must be conservative with liquids, or face a horrible fate. In Drowsy, actors are liberal with their execution of spit-takes. You get the idea; there is a lot less death and fecal matter in Drowsy.
That is not, of course, to say that we here at Mount Baker are opposed to death or fecal matter.
So with the rehearsals off and running, we implore you to come and sing and dance and disappear into the decadent world of the 1920s.
With a Tony-winning score by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and an equally Tony-winning book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, Mount Baker’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” will run at the Key City Theatre from May 7 to May 9 at 7:30 p.m., and May 10 at 3 p.m.
Tickets and ticket information can be found at the Key City box office, or you could always call the Key at (250) 426-7006.
Will things all work in the end?
Of course they will! It’s a musical!
We look forward to seeing you in the audience.