If you are a regular GailSez reader, then you will love The Drowsy Chaperone. Actually, if you are a regular GailSez reader you probably already know the entire score by heart and can correct me on several point of theatrical history. But you don’t have to an uber-theatre geek to get a kick out of this show, in fact what really thrills me is watching the audience all around me slowly glom on to what this show is all about and fall in love for themselves.
The Drowsy Chaperone is really about how art feeds our soul. In this case the art form is very specifically musical theatre, but the appeal is universal because you can apply the message to whatever does it for you – a good book, a great symphony, a stroll through a museum – without art in our lives we are somehow lesser beings.
This show is often billed as a musical inside a comedy, and the musical part was originally written by Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison, and Don McKellarson as a stag party skit for Robert “Bob” Martin and Janet van de Graaff, The bride and groom are the stars (the characters still bear their names) and madcap mayhem threatens to disrupt their wedding day. It is a charming take off on early 20th century musical comedy (pre-Showboat), most specifically the Princess musicals, penned between 1915-1918 by P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, and Jerome Kern for the Princess Theatre in Manhattan.