Musical (1999)

Musique: Greg Morrison • Lisa Lambert
Paroles: Greg Morrison • Lisa Lambert
Livret: Bob Martin • Don McKellar
Production à la création:

The curtain rises on a present-day musical theatre fanatic eager to tell you about his favorite Broadway musical -- “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He’s the ultimate Everyfan and “Drowsy” is his guilty pleasure.

As he begins listening to the rare cast recording, the show cleverly and magically blooms to life, telling the hilarious tale of a pampered Broadway starlet and her debonair fiance, an overzealous producer, a dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a couple of bumbling gangsters. Ruses are played. Hi-jinks occur. And the plot spins everyone into musical comedy euphoria.

"To chase his blues away, a modern day musical theatre addict known simply as 'Man in Chair' drops the needle on his favourite LP — the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. From the crackle of his hi-fi, the uproariously funny musical magically bursts to life on stage, telling the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married, her producer who sets out to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone, the debonair groom, the dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs. Man in Chair's infectious love of The Drowsy Chaperone speaks to anyone who has ever been transported by the theatre."

In the darkness, we hear a theatregoer's lament, and a prayer for the current state of the theatrical art. The lights come up; we see a rather ordinary man, sitting in a chair in his rather ordinary New York apartment. Admitting to a state of "non-specific sadness," he asks us to escape with him as he plays the LP of his favourite musical: Gable & Stein's The Drowsy Chaperone.
Dropping the needle on his hi-fi, Man In Chair's imagination takes flight with the sound of a full orchestra. Soon, into his apartment parades the entire cast of the original 1928 production.

With caveats of its "two-dimensional characters" and "well-worn plot," Man In Chair now guides us into the story...
On the grounds of her estate, the dotty dowager Mrs Tottendale is to hostess a wedding. She confers with her butler, Underling. The groom, dashing oil-magnate-heir Roobert Martin, toasts his bride, Broadway starlet Janet Van de Graaff. Best Man George, the weight of the wedding on his harried shoulders, protests; the bride mustn't see the groom on her wedding day George fobs Janet off to the already half-in-the-bag (i.e. "Drowsy Chaperone.

Broadway Impresario Mr. Feldzeig bemoans his fate to dizzy chorine Kitty: Janet's getting married is a catastrophic development. Two Gangsters, posing as Damon Runyonesque, Pastry Chefs, put the screws to Feldzieg to keep Janet in "Feldzieg's Follies," at the behest of its primary investor — their underworldly Boss.

As Robert attempts to calm his wedding-day jitters, George recommends that the love-struck groom go roller skating: "That's what I do when I wanna blow off steam!" George then blindfolds Robert before sending him off, lest Robert accidentally set eyes on his fiancée.
The scene is interrupted by Man In Chair's telephone ringing — which he pointedly declines to answer.

The scene shifts Poolside, where the glamorous Janet lounges before a ravenous press, who pepper her with questions: Won't
she regret leaving Show Business for a man she barely knows? Janet, with the requisite plate-spinning, hoop-jumping and one-handed cart-wheeling, rebuffs the suggestion.

Desperate to stave off the impending nuptials, Feldzieg seeks an accomplice in self-described Latin Lothario Aldolpho. Goading Aldolpho by alleging that the Groom is slandering him, Feldzieg slyly suggests that the hot-headed Spaniard settle the score by seducing the Bride. Aldolpho sets off to exact his revenge.

We shift now to Man In Chair's least favourite — "The Spit-take scene" — wherein Mrs. Tottendale, instructing Underling on Prohibition code words, ends up drenching the poor serf in half-swilled vodka instead. Meanwhile, Janet expresses her misgivings to the Chaperone: is Robert in love with Janet, the girl, or with Janet Van De Graaff, Glamorous Broadway Star?

After the Chaperone sings what Man In Chair calls "Basically … a rousing anthem about alcoholism", the Chaperone, claiming "Drowsiness," sends the wary bride off to find Robert and ask him "the one question upon which [her] future happiness depends: 'Roger, Do you love me?" Janet — correcting her — leaves the place alone for the grand entrance of Aldolpho.

Seeing the Chaperone, Aldolpho mistakenly assumes she is the one upon whom he is meant to practice his legendary lovemaking skills. Surprisingly, the Chaperone throws herself into his arms. The King of Romance, not one to trade the thrill of the chase for the object of the hunt, holds the Chaperone at bay.

Into the garden, blindfolded and on roller skates, glides a blissfully unaware Robert. Janet follows, disguising herself as "Mimi," a mysterious French girl. Caught up in the memory of his first meeting with Janet, which he recounts as they skate a pas-de-deux, Robert and "Mimi" share a kiss … but Janet, realising, slaps the befuddled swain and dashes away, in tears.

Feldzieg paces. He's about to lose his leading lady — and the use of his kneecaps — for sure. Kitty volunteers to replace his star with her mind-reading act: "Kitty, The Incomprehensible." But when the Pastry Chefs arrive, Feldzieg throws them off the scent by combining their sense of rhythm with their weakness for cooking metaphors!

Aldolpho enters to announce: The wedding is off! He has made love to the Bride, indicating — the Chaperone! The room exhales. The wedding is on."The wedding is off!" The speaker is Janet herself. "Robert kissed a French girl. Her name is Mimi. She's very beautiful." Robert pleads: "I couldn't help it, Janet! She was just like you — only French!"

As the Ensemble sings a reprise of despair, Janet and Robert's dreams lie in tatters, and …

The curtain falls on act I. It is now Intermission. Or, at least it would be — if we were sitting at the Morosco theatre in 1928, watching The Drowsy Chaperone … Which, of course, we are not.

The Man crosses before the closed curtain and eats a power bar, musing about his own wedding. "Are you surprised to hear I was married? Well … " And now he has to go and take a comfort break. While he's gone — we can listen to the opening of Act II.
The Man has left us alone to witness a catastrophic mistake he has made — which owes to a snafu from his once-monthly
housekeeper, whose penchant for touching the Man's records now bears its strange, Oriental fruit. A quick change of LPs' and the second act of The Drowsy Chaperone is under way.

A depressed Janet sings longingly. The song devolves into a Mad Scene, as the tormented Bride is torn between her "Life of Glamour" and a future with Robert. Meanwhile, as Mrs. Tottendale and Underling muse about the history of love their observations cast their own magic spell ... which is nearly ruined by Man In Chair's phone ringing again. This time he simply rips the machine out of the wall.

As the recording spins toward its conclusion, the Chaperone and Mrs. Tottendale reveal that they are to be married to Aldolpho and Underling, respectively. George nearly blows a gasket: "Everybody's getting married except the bride and groom!" Janet turns for advice to her beloved Chaperone. "Should I marry Robert?"

Man In Chair turns to us: "Here it comes — the moment that has fascinated me more than any other."

The Chaperone delivers her words of wisdom — which — owing to yet another old-fashioned, LP-related snafu — are promptly rendered inaudible! Playing this moment over and over for us, this vinyl flaw, combined with a little too much brandy, leads to a semi-drunken rant from the tortured Man, who unburdens himself about the confluence of unfortunate events that have led him to this pass, this moment, and this life. He drops the needle on the fateful moment one more time.

"You have no idea," the drained Man concludes, "how many times I've listened to that."

And yet, Janet turns to Robert — and agrees to marry him.

As George revels in his success at planning the wedding, it dawns: he forgot to book the minister! No matter — a literal Deus Ex Machina appears in the form of Trix the Aviatrix, whom we glimpsed briefly in the opening, landing her bi-plane behind them. Thinking fast, the assemblage points out that as the Captain of a Ship (of the air), Trix can perform the marriages) herself! Trix happily obliges and as the betrothed couples climb aboard the plane, the play reaches its penultimate note — and there is a power cut.

The record grinds to a halt. The stage is plunged into darkness.

Alone now, the Man is beside himself, inconsolable; one note from the end, and the moment is ruined. Falling into despair, he seeks comfort by singing to himself. And yet this time, the Man discovers, he is not alone ... those characters he loves so well have never left his imagination. They stand beside him, ready, as ever, to transport him. As the play draws to its (quite literally) uplifting close, the Man disappears, with his memories, his dreams, and — for whenever he's feeling a little blue — his beloved recording of The Drowsy Chaperone..

The Drowsy Chaperone started in 1997, when McKellar, Lambert, Morrison and several friends created a spoof of old musicals for the stag party of Bob Martin and Janet Van De Graaff. In its first incarnation, there was no Man in Chair, the musical styles ranged from the 1920s to the 1940s, and the jokes were more risqué. When the show was reshaped for the Toronto Fringe Festival, Martin became a co-writer, creating Man in Chair to serve as a narrator/commentator for the piece.

Following the Fringe staging, Toronto commercial theatre producer David Mirvish financed an expanded production at Toronto's 160-seat, non-profit Theatre Passe Muraille in 1999. Box office success and favourable notices led Mirvish in 2001 to finance further development and produce a full-scale version at Toronto's 1000-seat Winter Garden Theatre. During that production, Linda Intaschi, Associate Producer of Mirvish Productions, invited New York producer Roy Miller to see the musical. Miller saw potential in the show and he optioned the rights.

With Canadian actor and fund-raiser Paul Mack, Miller produced a reading for the New York's National Alliance for Musical Theatre on 5 October 2004 – and invited Broadway producer Kevin McCollum. The reading captured McCollum's interest and eventually resulted in Miller, McCollum and Bob Boyett, Stephanie McClelland, Barbara Freitag and Jill Furman committing to producing the play. An out-of-town engagement followed at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles (2005), and after alterations, The Drowsy Chaperone opened on Broadway on 1 May 2006.

The Broadway production opened in May 2006 at the Marquis Theatre, and closed on 30 December 2007 after 674 performances and 32 previews. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw the original Broadway cast included Bob Martin, Sutton Foster, Georgia Engel, Edward Hibbert, Beth Leavel, Jason Kravits, Garth Kravits, Eddie Korbich, and Danny Burstein.

West End
The Broadway team staged the West End production. Previews started on 14 May 2007, first night was on 6 June, but it closed on 4 August after fewer than 100 performances. A largely British cast, including Elaine Paige – making her return to the West End after six years – John Partridge and Summer Strallen joined the show’s co-author Bob Martin recreating his Broadway role of "Man in Chair." The Novello Theatre’s owner Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who had seen the show in previews in New York had supported its transatlantic transfer. London's critics were generally optimistic about the show, although some had been less impressed. Even an early drastic reduction in the cost of premium seating for the show failed to generate sufficient enthusiasm for the production, and the producers closed it in August instead of the scheduled February 2008 date. London's The Stage commented "… shows in London can run safely … at lower capacities than they require on Broadway.… But, as the transfer of The Drowsy Chaperone has just proved, sometimes even a Tony-winning Broadway hit can’t even achieve that."

The musical received 2008 Olivier Award nominations for Best New Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Summer Strallen), Best Actor in a Musical (Bob Martin), Best Theatre Choreographer (Casey Nicholaw), and Best Costume Design (Gregg Barnes).

[edit] North American tour

A national tour of The Drowsy Chaperone opened 19 September 2007 in Toronto at the Elgin Theatre. Among the performers were original Broadway cast members Bob Martin and Georgia Engel (Man in Chair and Mrs. Tottendale). While Engel performed with the company for the extended engagement, Martin did not continue beyond Toronto; his role was taken over by Jonathan Crombie. Nancy Opel played the role of "The Drowsy Chaperone". The Drowsy Chaperone played more than 30 cities in the United States, including Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theatre, where the show ran before going to Broadway.[12]

02.Hello! - Man in Chair
03.Fancy Dress - Company
04.Percy Hyman - Man in Chair
05. Cold Feets - Robert, George
06.The Ooops Girl - Man in Chair
07. Best Man For The Job - George
08. Show Off - Janet, Ensemble
09.Beatrice Stockwell - Man in Chair
10. As We Stumble Along - Drowsy
11. I Am Aldolpho - Aldolpho, Drowsy
12. Accident Waiting To Happen - Robert, Janet
13.The Tall Brothers Man in Chair
14. Toledo Surprise - Company
15.Finale Act I - Company
16. Message From A Nightingale - Kitty, Gangsters, Aldolpho, Drowsy
17. Bride's Lament - Janet
18.Love Is Always Lovely In the End - Tottendale, Underling
19. Groom's Reverie - Robert, Company
20. I Remember Love - Mrs. Tottendale, Underling
21. I Do, I Do In The Sky - Trix And Company
22. As We Stumble Along (Reprise) - Company

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Drowsy Chaperone (The)

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Drowsy Chaperone (The)

Version 1

Drowsy Chaperone (The) (1999-07-George Ignatieff Theater-Toronto)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: George Ignatieff Theater (Toronto - Canada)
Durée : 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : 02 July 1999
Première: 02 July 1999
Dernière: 11 July 1999
Mise en scène : Steven Morel
Chorégraphie : Steven Morel
Producteur :
Star(s) :

Version 2

Drowsy Chaperone (The) (2006-05-Marquis Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Original Broadway
Théâtre: Marquis Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 1 an 8 mois
Nombre : 32 previews - 674 représentations
Première Preview : 03 April 2006
Première: 01 May 2006
Dernière: 30 December 2007
Mise en scène : Casey Nicholaw
Chorégraphie : Casey Nicholaw
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Commentaires longs: Le cast comprend: Sutton Foster, Georgia Engel, Bob Martin, Beth Leavel, Danny Burstein, Edward Hibbert, Troy Britton Johnson, Eddie Korbich, Garth Kravits, Jason Kravits, Kecia Lewis-Evans, Jennifer Smith, Lenny Wolpe.

Version 3

Drowsy Chaperone (The) (2007-06-Novello Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Novello Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois 4 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : 14 May 2007
Première: 06 June 2007
Dernière: 04 August 2007
Mise en scène : Casey Nicholaw
Chorégraphie : Casey Nicholaw
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Commentaires longs: Un beau petit flop, même avec Elaine page dans le rôle titre, même avec des critiques plus que élogieuses de l'netièreté de la presse. Alors que le même spectacle avait receuilli un gros succès à Broadway…
Presse : NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Surprises and delights." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, " For all the energy of Casey Nicholaw's production, I would readily sacrifice the whole of this glitzy charade for 10 minutes of the real thing by Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter or Jerome Kern." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Delightful show that has a strong claim to being one of the silliest musicals ever written...Only the self-importantly serious and the chronically depressed will fail to enjoy this preposterously entertaining evening." SAM MARLOWE for THE TIMES says, "Affectionate spoof...However clever and appealing it is, this musical is an airy confection without much substance." PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "The piece fails to work on any level."

Version 4

Drowsy Chaperone (The) (2010-09-Upstairs at the Gatehouse-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Upstairs at the Gatehouse (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois
Nombre :
Première Preview : 23 September 2010
Première: 28 September 2010
Dernière: 31 October 2010
Mise en scène : Racky Plews
Chorégraphie : Fabian Aloise
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Matthew Lloyd Davies (Man in Chair ), Siobhan McCarthy (Drowsy Chaperone), Ursula Mohan (Mrs Tottendale), Ted Merwood (Underling), Ashley Day (Robert Martin ), Gavin Keenan (George), Graham Lappin (Feldzieg), Michael Howe (Adolpho ), Tanya Robb ( Kitty), Amy Diamond (Janet), S ophia Nomvete (Trix ), Jo Parsons, Will Stokes.
Commentaires : This revival – just three years after its West End flop – was greeted rather unenthusiastically, although several critics felt there is a truly worthwhile show inside, struggling to get out.

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