At the very end of Company Theatre’s delightful production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, the narrator, called “Man in Chair” (played with touching exuberance by Danny Bolton) suggests we start over from the beginning. We should have shouted “Yes!” en masse. The delicious wedding cake of a “musical within a comedy” is so short and yes, sweet, that I would have loved to see it again. Alas, the run is over this weekend.
Bolton and a slew of consummate pros sail through the (Lamber/Morrison/Martin/McKellor) faux, “old fashioned,” practically plot-less musical with panache and exquisite comic timing. Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman’s cast makes fun of those creaky conventions which weighed down the musicals of yesteryear without even one wink to the audience: The secret to a successful send-up is sincerity—and a music director like Michael V. Joseph. His orchestra of a dozen or more musicians makes the wacky score pop and his singers deliver the goods.
DROWSY is chock full of wonderful clichés: Andrew Giordano is hilarious as the Latin lover who mistakes the chaperone for the ingénue. Corinne Mason is a force to be reckoned with as the drowsy, martini swilling, aforementioned chaperone—and the happy recipient of the Latin lover mix-up. Juliana Dennis is the ditsy hostess whose poker faced butler (the marvelous A. John Porcaro) repeatedly keeps her abreast of the proceedings.
David Giagrando is the big time producer who does not intend to lose his leading lady (the multi-talented Cat Umano) to groom-to-be Matthew Brendan Ford. Umano juggles, twirls and splits her way through the roof raising “Show Off” number while Ford and his best man (Matt Maggio) tap up a hurricane on their “Cold Feets” (niftily choreographed by Sally Ashton Forrest). As everyone prepares for the wedding, Giagrando keeps the plot moving by hatching his devious plans for sabotage.
Carole Shannon is the quintessential “dumb blonde” who outsmarts the producer and Justin Selig and Paul Brennan III supply the “singing and dancing” gangster element. Evette Anderson swoops in to save the day just when you think that wedding might not happen. With a nod to 42nd STREET, KISS ME KATE, ANYTHING GOES, THE KING AND I and any number of lovely chestnuts, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is a frothy, retro wake-up call: Who says they don’t make shows nowadays like they used to!