“The Drowsy Chaperone,” captivates attention by its very title.
The story follows a middle-aged, unsociable musical theater fanatic as he plays the record of his favorite musical, the (fictional) 1928 hit “The Drowsy Chaperone.” While the needle moves across the vinyl, he brings the story, characters and music to life – and brings the audience along with him.
Limelight Performing Arts, in partnership with Studio 3 Performing Arts, brings to stage the hit musical that won five Tony Awards and pokes fun at all of the clichés that characterize the musical theater genre. It runs through May 7 at Studio 3’s Artspace Theatre in Gilbert.
Here’s how the story goes:
When showgirl Janet Van De Graff makes plans to leave her career to marry oil tycoon Robert Martin, Follies producer Mr. Feldzeig is forced by a pair of gangsters disguised as pastry chefs to sabotage the wedding. Meanwhile, best man George tries to help the would-be groom keep his nerves in check, and Janet’s drowsy chaperone imparts her own brand of wisdom.
“It’s very light-hearted and you’ll keep laughing the entire time,” said Emma England, Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy founder and the artistic director of the production. “If someone really enjoys musicals, they will really connect to this show.”
It’s also off the wall. In addition, their version is unique, England said, because it has built-in audience interaction.
Most seats are show-only, but some include servings of dessert.
“During the show, the actors will sit and stand on the tables themselves where the audience is sitting. They may go and shake hands with the audience or gesture toward them and bring them into the show, if you will,” England said. “Anything goes, really.”
“It’s one of my favorite shows to direct,” Don Crosby, a longtime actor and director of the play stated in a news release.
Crosby said that the over-the-top, melodramatic, slapstick musical features a cast of talented teenagers in the Valley.
“Audiences will feel like they’re watching a full-scale, professional production. The cast is creative, fun and truly loves what they’re doing. The cast brings so much joy to their roles, making this musical not just a show but an experience,” he said.