The Tony Award-winning play The Drowsy Chaperone April 3-6 at Jacksonville University is a clever tribute to the “Great American Musical” tradition — with a sarcastic twist sure to delight anyone who appreciates Broadway shows.
The production by the JU divisions of Music and Theater, which won five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards in 2006, was originally conceived by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. A nostalgic evening of wit, exciting dance numbers and great singing voices, it is classic Broadway fare with a snarky edge.
As a spoof on musicals, the romp never leaves the small apartment of a devoted and slightly Mad Hatter-like narrator, “Man in Chair” (senior theater major David Bilbray). When this die-hard fan of musical theater dusts off his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash called The Drowsy Chaperone magically bursts to life and the audience is immersed in the glamorous, over-the-top comical tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day.
JU’s production is under the direction by JU theater Prof. Deborah Jordan, with choreography by Jacksonville’s Curtis J. Williams and musical direction by JU music theater Prof. Jay Ivey. A send-up of the conventions of musical comedy, the play has been lauded as one of the wittiest, zaniest shows to hit Broadway.
The Drowsy Chaperone (music theater junior Lexi Inks) dazzles the audience with her rendition of “As We Stumble Along.” Other memorable musical numbers include Janet Van de Graff (music theater sophomore Rachel Romo) performing “Show Off”; Alec Hadden’s “I Am Adolpho,” the tale of the sordid Latin lover; and the snazzy tap number “Cold Feets” (musical theater freshmen Matt Robertson and Parker Lawhorne). Endearing gangsters disguised as chefs (Wayne Woodson, Chris Robertson); the cigar-chomping producer Mr. Feldzig (James Webb); and the adorable Kitty (Victoria Miller) add to the cast in comic supporting roles.
The Drowsy Chaperone is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). Critics have praised it as “irresistible,” “a witty, winning, refreshing cocktail of a show” and “delightful and sparkling entertainment.” The accolades are well-earned for this clever and witty production with uproarious songs and great performances.
More information: Prof. Jay Ivey, JU Assistant Professor of Voice and Music Theater, (904) 256-7334.