This column was contributed by a affiliation member.
East Haddam, CT – The active agreeable ball The Drowsy Chaperone has been active back September 21 through November 25, 2018 at The Goodspeed, but a well-attended columnist night was captivated on Wednesday evening.
In what is about a amusing valentine to appearance tunes and appearance people, a abandoned Jazz Age agreeable comes to activity in the active allowance of a diehard theatre fan, accepted alone as “Man in the Chair.” As he agilely spins his admired casting album, a airy best appearance aback appears, exploding with song, ball and authentic entertainment. The arbitrary narrator fills the artifice holes and makes the admirers beam out loud. Packed with one show-stopping cardinal afterwards accession and absolutely larger-than-life characters, this is a Tony Award-winning bluff that will accept anybody falling in adulation with a camp agreeable comedy.The DROWSY CHAPERONE appearance a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.
As a diehard agreeable fan, I accept enjoyed this airy appearance before, but acquirements the adventure of how it was originally created as a allowance for two agreeable theatre admirers that were accepting affiliated artlessly afflicted my heart. Mr. McKellar, Ms. Lambert and Mr. Morrison were accepting accessible for a affair to bless the accessible bells of their accompany Bob Martin and Janet Van De Graaf. In its ancient incarnation, DROWSY spoofed musicals from a added timeframe and was a bit added risque, but it was a hit.
The reworked appearance became a admiring caricature of the musicals of the 1920s which included adapted touches such as mistaken identity, bumbling gangster, spit-takes, and a ambassador called Feldzieg (“Ziegfeld” backwards.) The ancient bench Man was added to characterize and adviser this show-within-a-show, and back it opened on Broadway in 2006, the casting included Sutton Foster (the sister of the Goodspeed’s administrator Hunter Foster) and Mr. Martin the benedict was still onboard as Man in the Chair.
The Equity casting at Goodspeed Musicals was led by John Scherer, who ahead appeared in the Goodspeed productions of BY JEEVES, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, and GEORGE M, as the Man in the Chair, who is a loveable everyman. Ruth Gottschall played the absorbing but apparent Mrs.Tottendale in a amazing wig and alike bigger dresses (as mentioned in “Fancy Dress”) Ms. Gottschall appeared in COMEDY OF ERRORS at Hartford Date and was additionally apparent in the aboriginal blur ANNIE as Mrs. Greer.
Jay Aubrey Jones (ANYTHING GOES and GOTHAM at Goodspeed) covered the role of the admired butler Underling, and he captivated his own adjoin his “Madam.” Clyde Alves (WICKED, ANYTHING GOES on Broadway) fabricated his Goodspeed admission by arena the groom-to-be Robert Martin with a amazing smile. Mr. Alves accustomed the Fred Astaire Award for Best Male Dancer in 2000 and it showed whether he was tap dancing in “Cold Feets” or roller skating in “Accident Waiting to Happen.”
Tim Falter (42nd STREET, SINGING IN THE RAIN) alternate to Goodspeed Musicals to ball the role of the best man George. His accomplished Goodspeed hits accommodate 42nd STREET and SINGING IN THE RAIN. James Judy (Joe Boyd in DAMN YANKEES and Mr. Shalford in HALF A SIXPENCE at Goodspeed, National Tour of Disney’s NEWSIES) played actual able-bodied the ambassador Feldzieg.
Gangster 1 was played by Blakely Slaybaugh (National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA and Pinocchio in SHREK THE MUSICAL) in his Goodspeed debut. Joining Blakely was his brother Parker Slaybaugh as Bandit 2. This was additionally Parker Slaybaugh’s aboriginal time assuming with Goodspeed Musicals. The accomplished due did able-bodied with the ample ball in the academic roles John Rapson chewed the backdrop as “I am Aldolpho.” Mr. Rapson performed in the Broadway assembly of LES MISTERABLES and in the National Tour of A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER. Making her Goodspeed admission was Ruth Pferdehirt in the role of the dimwitted Kitty. Ms. Pferdehirt appeared in the National Tours of ELF and A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER.
Stephanie Rothenberg managed to beam in the role of Janet Van De Graaff. Ms. Rothenberg’s Broadway credits accommodate WAR PAINT, SUNSET BOULEVARD, and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. Broadway adept Jennifer Allen (Mama in the 2007 assembly of HIGH BUTTON SHOES at Goodspeed) endemic the role of The Drowsy (inebriated) Chaperone with a big voice, a bigger personality. Ms. Allen’s Broadway credits accommodate BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, SISTER ACT, MEMPHIS, CATS, and GUYS AND DOLLS.
Trix, the Aviatrix was played by Danielle Lee Greaves. Her Broadway credits accommodate A STREECAR NAMED DESIRE, HAIRSPRAY, RENT, SUNSET BOULEVARD and SHOW BOAT. The extra alone appears in the aboriginal and final arena forth with her ample biplane, but she fabricated her mark during her time on the stage. I still haven’t ample out how the date aggregation managed to adumbrate the even backstage.
The ensemble included Abby Church (Goodspeed’s Irving Berlin’s HOLIDAY INN,) Bryan Thomas Hunt (Goodspeed’s THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE and CHASING RAINBOWS,) Evan Mayer (Goodspeed’s THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE) and Gabi Stapula whose credits accommodate bounded productions of JERSEY BOYS, GYPSY, NEWSIES, GUYS AND DOLLS.THE DROWSY CHAPERONE was directed by Hunter Foster, who co-wrote Goodspeed Musicals’ THE CIRCUS IN WINTER and directed aftermost season’s hit A CONNECTICUT CHRISTMAS CAROL. Mr. Foster was a Tony and Drama Desk Award appointee for Best Actor in a Agreeable for his achievement as Seymour in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. I accepted the contemporary advertence to all-around abating and added d and amusing animadversion delivered by the Man.
Choreographer Chris Bailey alternate to Goodspeed Musicals area he ahead choreographedCHASING RAINBOWS in 2016; he additionally choreographed “Bigger” for the 2013 Tony Awards with Neil Patrick Harris, one of my admired YouTube videos. The tap ball was amazing and the blow of the ball numbers managed to fit calmly on the tiny Goodspeed date after any apparent shrinkage. Scenic Design by Howard Jones was adapted and functional; he ahead advised eight shows at Goodspeed Musicals including BRIGADOON, BABES IN ARMS, CALL ME MADAM and 42nd STREET. I admired the abounding breadth mirror on the central of the fridge/closet and the kitchen of the Man in his Chair.
Costumes were stunningly advised by Tony Award-winning artist Gregg Barnes who has advised apparel for several Goodspeed productions including RADIO GIRLS, EMMET OTTER’S JUG BAND CHRISTMAS, and MAME. Mr. Barnes has advised for abundant Broadway shows including the accepted productions of KINKY BOOTS, ALADDIN, MEAN GIRLS, and the new agreeable PRETTY WOMAN: The Musical. Mr. Barnes has been nominated for several Tony Awards and won for his apparel designs in the Broadway productions of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and FOLLIES. These DROWSY apparel were sparkly, abundant and artlessly sublime.
On the accountable of costumes, over eight inches of rain fell on East Haddam on the black of September 25th causing cogent accident from beam flooding. Thankfully, the Opera House was not afflicted but the agents is still active charwoman up accident at added campus buildings. In accession to calamity in the Apparel Shop, Scherer Library of Agreeable Theatre, Music Department and Actor Housing, there was cogent accident to the afresh adapted Ashton and Natalie Tenney Rehearsal Studio. Goodspeed is alive adamantine to restore the collections, alter accessories and accoutrement and clean these basic spaces. There are abounding apparel that still charge to be cleaned.
Lighting Design was by Kirk Bookman, who has advised over twenty shows for Goodspeed Musicals. Sound Design was by Jay Hilton, who has a continued affiliation with Goodspeed Musicals area he has advised endless productions at both The Terris Theatre and The Goodspeed. Both formed able-bodied in every way. Wigs and beard were acquiescently advised by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, whose assignment has been apparent in Goodspeed’s OLIVER, RAGS, OKLAHOMA, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, ANYTHING GOES, BYE BYE BIRDIE and CHASING RAINBOWS. Every arch was aeon adapted and flattering. The Music Administrator was the consummate Michael O’Flaherty, who is in his amazing 27th division as Goodspeed’s Resident Music Director. William J. Thomas served as Assistant Music Administrator with orrations by Dan DeLange. The seven allotment orra articulate as bright as always.
The active agreeable ball THE DROWSY CHAPERONE runs through November 25, 2018 at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, CT. Curtain times are Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (with baddest performances at 2:00 p.m.), Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (with baddest performances at 6:30 p.m.). Tickets are accessible through the Box Office (860.873.8668), accessible seven canicule a week, or online at goodspeed.org.
Nancy Sasso Janis Photo by J. Timothy Quirk
Nancy Sasso Janis has been autograph theatre reviews back 2012 as a way to abutment bounded theatre venues. She posts reviews of able-bodied over 100 productions anniversary year. In 2016, she became a affiliate of the Connecticut Critics Circle.She continues to accord theatre news, previews, and audience notices to bounded Patch sites. Reviews of all levels of affected productions are acquaint on Naugatuck Patch and the Patch sites aing to the venue. Follow the analyst on her Facebook pages Nancy Sasso Janis: Theatre Analyst and on Twitter @nancysjanis417
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