Tag Archives: “The Drowsy Chaperone”

“Drowsy Chaperone”: Wake Up! Just 2 Performances Left!

It’s one thing for Staples Players to sell tickets to shows like “A Chorus Line,” “West Side Story” and “Guys and Dolls.”

Everyone knows the high school troupe will knock those familiar shows out of the park.

It’s a lot tougher to try to sell a musical few people have heard of — and with a sleep-inducing title.

Trust me: “The Drowsy Chaperone” will do more than keep you awake.

It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious. It’s superbly entertaining.

And it’s as Broadway-quality as every other Players production you’ve ever loved.

Drowsy Chaperone - Christian Melhuish, Aaron Samuels, Charlie Zuckerman - Kerry Long

Aaron Samuels (center) breaks theater’s “4th wall.” Playing “Man in Chair,” he also interacts with actors Christian Melhuish and Charlie Zuckerman. (Photo/Kerry Long)

The premise is a bit odd — a “Man in Chair” imagines an entire 1920s musical in his apartment — but trust me: It works.

Without knowing anything about 1920s musicals, you’ll get both the spoof of the genre — and the homage. The cast and crew clearly have fun. They straddle past and present — and their joy is infectious.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” features superb performances from — among others — Aaron Samuels (Man in Chair), and Jacob Leaf (Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” this time nailing a Latin lover in a performance that would make Rudolph Valentino swoon).

There’s tap dancing, show-stopping songs, and Players’ signature professional sets, costumes and pit orchestra.

Trix the Aviatrix descends onstage, in a memorable number. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Trix the Aviatrix descends onstage, in a memorable number. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Directors David Roth and Kerry Long have been bombarded with emails from fans who — like me — surprised themselves at how much they loved a play they knew nothing about.

Roth and Long knew when they chose “Drowsy Chaperone” that it would be a tough sell. They took the challenge anyway.

They’re happy to see that — thanks to word of mouth — tickets are going fast for Friday and Saturday’s final performances.

Consider this your wakeup call.

(“The Drowsy Chaperone” will be performed this Friday and Saturday — March 18 and 19 — at 7:30 p.m., at Staples High School. Click here for tickets.)

Players’ Audiences Won’t Sleep At “Drowsy Chaperone”

Staples Players are known for producing challenging, Broadway-quality shows with important messages. In just the past few years they’ve staged “Cabaret,” “Sweeney Todd” and “The Laramie Project.”

Their spring show is just as demanding, technically and artistically. But “The Drowsy Chaperone” has almost no message at all.

It’s simply fun, uproariously funny, catchy. And short.

Besides the complex choreography and intricate set, one challenge for David Roth — in his 50th show as Players director — is selling the show to audiences. Though it won several Tonys in 2006, many theater-goers have not heard of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

That’s a shame.

Aaron Samuels -- the "Man in Chair" -- is a central character in "The Drowsy Chaperone." (Photo/Kerry Long)

Aaron Samuels — the “Man in Chair” — is a central character in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” (Photo/Kerry Long)

See, there’s this middle-aged theater-lover. Feeling down, he puts on a record of a favorite musical — and invites the audience to listen too.

The show we hear is a fictional 1920s musical: “The Drowsy Chaperone.” The entire play comes to life in his apartment.

“It’s a real homage — and at the same time, a parody — of ’20s musicals,” Roth says.

“It was a unique time: right before the Depression, and the advent of talking pictures. It was a time of big, splashy musicals — without much plot.”

With Roth and associate director Kerry Long, the cast explored the time period by watching documentaries of the development of musical theater during that decade. They also saw “Singin’ in the Rain.” That classic film takes place in the exact same year as “Drowsy.”

The show — which opens March 11, and runs through March 19 — is the first for Players’ new choreographers, Christopher Hudson Myers and Rachel MacIsaac. The married couple — he just finished a 5-year Broadway stint in “Mamma Mia!”; she was with the show’s national touring company — moved to Westport last year.

Roth says, “We’ve never done tap dancing at this level. It’s really complicated, but they’re doing some amazing things. I’m impressed every time I see it. And the kids really like it.”

In a musical number called "Accident Waiting to Happen," Robert (Keanan Pucci) rollerskates while blindfolded. to avoid seemg his bride Janet (Caroline Didelot) on their wedding day. Aaron Samuels plays the "Man in Chair." (Photo/Kerry Long)

In a musical number called “Accident Waiting to Happen,” Robert (Keanan Pucci) rollerskates while blindfolded. to avoid seemg his bride Janet (Caroline Didelot) on their wedding day. Aaron Samuels plays the “Man in Chair.” (Photo/Kerry Long)

Another challenge is the set. Technical director Peter DiFranco and his crew have created an apartment that transforms magically into a Hamptons mansion.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is the final musical for Players’ seniors. They’ll exit the stage with a great one.

(“The Drowsy Chaperone” will be presented Friday and Saturday, March 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 13 at 3 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.)