The Drowsy Chaperone is a 2006 Broadway musical which features music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, with book by Bob Martin. The show parodies the American Musical genre, and evolves as a midde-aged musical theatre fan begins to listen to the record of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ which suddenly comes to life in his own front room. The show is presented in one act, and features a number of lively characters who are each parodies of the 1920s. The show won Tony Awards for Best Book and Score and starred Sutton Foster and Bob Martin. The musical ran on Broadway for over 600 performances, and transferred to London’s West End a year later, although the production ran for less than 100 shows due to bad ticket sales. This production starred Elaine Paige and Summer Strallen.
Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison
Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison
Bob Martin, Don McKellar
Kevin McCollum, Roy Miller, Boyett Ostar Productions, Stephanie McClelland, Barbara Freitag
Original Broadway Production
Marquis Theatre - Opened 1 May 2006, closed 30 Dec 2007
Cast: Bob Martin, Sutton Foster, Georgia Engel, Edward Hibbert,Beth Leavel, Jason Kravits, Garth Kravits, Eddie Korbich, and Danny Burstein.
Original London Production
Novello Theatre - Opened 6 Jun 2007, closed 4 Aug 2007
Cast: Elaine Paige, Sutton Foster, Scarlet Strallen
What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box
The ‘musical within a comedy’ begins as the Man in Chair settles down to listen to the recording of his favourite (fictional) recording of the 1928 musical ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’. He is an agoraphobic Broadway fanatic who acts as narrator and passes comment on the action throughout. As the recording begins the characters come to life and his front room becomes a Broadway set. The characters are introduced on the day of the wedding between oil tycoon Robert Martin and Broadway star Janet Van De Graaff. The old hostess Mrs Tottendale arrives along with her employee Underling. George, Robert’s Best Man is joined by Feldzeig, a Broadway producer who is hoping to get Janet to star in his latest show, despite the fact she has said marriage will mark the end of her career. A ditzy flapper Kitty longs to be as famous as Janet is joined by two gangsters who are disguised as pastry chefs, along with Janet’s alcoholic Chaperone and the famed lover Aldolpho.
The plot develops as the gangsters tell Feldzieg that their boss wants to invest in his latest Broadway show but only if Janet is involved. They come up with a plan to sabotage the wedding to make sure that Janet stays in showbiz, and Feldzieg enlists the help of Aldolpho to seduce her to ruin her relationship. Robert is nervous about the wedding and tap dances to get rid of his cold feet. George tells him it could be dangerous, so instead puts him on rollerskates in the garden, blindfolded so he doesn’t see Janet before the wedding. Janet tells the reporters that she is happy waving goodbye to her life on the stage with a large production number. Whilst she is alone, she asks her Chaperone for advise, as she feels Robert does not really love her. The Chaperone responds with a song about the benefits of being an alcoholic, instructing Janet to share her feelings with her future husband. Aldolpho enters and mistakes the Chaperone for Janet and happily seduces her.
Janet finds Robert in the garden, blindfolded and in roller skates. She pretends to be a French woman and quizzes him on his love for Janet which ends in a kiss. She runs away furiously. Meanwhile, Kitty is busy trying to convince Feldzeig that she would be a perfect replacement, as the gangsters turn up the heat. He distracts them by telling them he could make them an act. Aldolpho enters with the Chaperone on his arm as he finds out he seduced the wrong woman. Janet tells the gathered group that she is cancelling the wedding as Robert kissed another woman.
The Man in Chair interrupts saying he needs to find the recording of Act 2. He leaves for the restroom, and puts on the wrong record, which begins with a lively oriental number. He realises his mistake and puts on the second act record which opens with a dream sequence where Janet laments her decision and decides to return to the stage. The Chaperone tells everyone she is in love with Aldolpho and that there will be a wedding after all, just as Mrs Tottendale announces that she and Underling are to be wed also. Janet tells Robert that she was the maid and forgives him and agrees to get married. Feldzieg attempts to appease the gangsters by showing off Kitty’s mind reading talents, and she reads his mind saying that he is asking to marry her. George is best man for all weddings and they prepare to depart for Rio to get married on Trix’s plane. As the final chord plays, the power goes out in the Man in Chair’s apartment and he gives a final reprise.
- Overture – Orchestra
- Fancy Dress – Company
- Cold Feets – Robert, George
- Show Off – Janet, Company
- As We Stumble Along – Drowsy Chaperone
- I Am Aldolpho – Aldolpho, Drowsy Chaperone
- Accident Waiting To Happen – Robert, Janet
- Toledo Surprise – Gangsters, Feldzieg, Kitty, Mrs. Tottendale, and Company
- Message From A Nightingale – Kitty, Gangsters, Aldolpho, Drowsy Chaperone
- Bride’s Lament – Janet, Company
- Love Is Always Lovely In The End – Mrs. Tottendale, Underling
- I Do, I Do In The Sky – Trix, Company
- As We Stumble Along (Reprise) – Company
2006 Tony Awards: Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design.
2008 Olivier Awards: Nominated for Best New Musical, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Costume, Best Choreographer
UK: Josef Weinberger
USA: Musical Theatre International