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Or another question: why should we want to be in Drowsy?

When I told my friend Dave that I was directing The Drowsy Chaperone, he said that it is the greatest musical that no one ever heard of. Not quite true. It is a great show, but since it ran on Broadway for about two years, and got several Tonys and several more nominations, at least some people have heard of it. Just not as many as have heard of “My Fair Lady” or “Oklahoma.” It has multiple nice tunes, but none of them are “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” or “I Could Have Danced All Night.” I do hope, though, that as the audience leaves Drowsy, they will be humming “As We Stumble Along,” or “Accident Waiting to Happen.”

If you want to know why we should be doing Drowsy, there are two reasons. The first is to have fun. The second is: I lied. There is no second reason. This is a fun show, from start to finish. There is very little that is serious about it. It does have a traditional boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again plot, but even the boy loses girl part is fun.

The cast includes fourteen named characters and probably six ensemble, all adults of various ages. Ensemble members may have some lines as reporters, etc. One of the male ensemble will double as the superintendent, who does a bit at the end of the show. Everyone sings and dances. All the named characters have either solo songs, duets or significant solo lines within songs. On the audition form, young men will be asked if they can tap dance or can learn in two months. Young women will be asked if their dance experience includes acrobatics such as cartwheels, somersaults and splits. Ensemble members will do some set changing and prop setting and striking in costume.

The show is set in the year it was produced, around 2007, in the West Side studio apartment of a character known only as “Man in Chair.” He plays a recording of his favorite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, which is set in 1928, the end of the roaring twenties. The musical then comes to life in his apartment, which is transformed into the estate of Mrs. Tottendale, the setting of a society wedding. Man in Chair narrates and comments on the musical as it unfolds.

We are very familiar with shows which explore the dark side of that era, Chicago and Cabaret, for example. This show plays it all for laughs, in a vein more like 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, or Thoroughly Modern Millie.

The show is slightly risqué at times, so we will rate it PG, but I personally would not hesitate to bring a child to it. Aldolpho and the Chaperone seduce each other in the hilarious tango number, “I Am Aldolpho. At the end of the song they hop in bed, but the lights go out and the bed disappears before anything gets accomplished. In another scene there is no sexiness, but Underling and Mrs. Tottendale do a series of spit takes. They are authentic enough that Underling says that he is going to wring out his eyebrows to make a gimlet. So if you don’t want our mom to see you hop in bed, or don’t want to get spit on, don’t audition for those roles.

I hoped that I have piqued your interest in the Drowsy Chaperone. Auditions dates and character descriptions are listed elsewhere on our website.
Questions? Please email me at kelnagel@yahoo.com, or friend me and message me on Facebook. Interested in helping with set, props or other aspects of production? Definitely contact me as above Kel Nagel