BOB MARTIN

DANNY BURNSTEIN    GEORGIA ENGEL    SUTTON FOSTER    EDWARD HIBBERT

TROY BRITTON JOHNSON    EDDIE KORBICH    GARTH KRAVITS    JASON KRAVITS

BETH LEAVEL    KECIA LEWIS-EVANS    JENNIFER SMITH    LENNY WOLPE

THE PLOT

The Man in the Chair, who happens to be a musical lover, is feeling kind of blue and so to lift up his spirit he decides to play one of his favorite cast recordings – “The Drowsy Chaperone”. That show tells the story of a famous Broadway star who wants to marry and leave the stage forever. Her manager and producer don’t want to loose his big star and his willing to try everything to stop her marriage, so he hires a gigolo to seduce her, with unpredictable results. While this plot unfolds on stage, the Man in the Chair makes his comments and tells us stories regarding the stars of that musical.

THE SHOW

What can I say? This is simply one of the best musicals I saw and thanks to it I was forced to change my all time Top 10 favorite Musicals. But let’s talk a bit about the show.

How could something that began as a wedding present become this fabulous love letter to musical theatre? The answer, I believe, is very simple: it was done with love and passion. We can feel both things on stage and in our hearts.
I don’t know how they come up with the idea of The Man in the Chair character, but it’s a brilliant concept and I’m sure lots of people will see part of themselves in that character (I did). It’s this Man (an unforgettable and hard to replace performance by Bob Martin, who, with Don McKellar, is also one of the authors of the show) that take us for a journey to a time where musicals were simple entertainments with catchy tunes and plenty of laughs. More than the musical that unfolds around him, he’s the heart and soul of this show and I’m sure everyone will love to take this ride with him.

The music takes us back to a time of great songs and hummable tunes, like the funny “Show Off”. The musical numbers are great and the “Toledo Surprise” is so contagious that we almost feel compelled to join the cast on stage.

The entire cast is in perfect harmony with the show and everyone delivers strong performances and at the same time they look like they are having the time of their lives. Besides Bob Martin, who steals the show, we have a fabulous Beth Leavel, Sutton Foster is better here than in MILLIE, Georgia Engel and Edward Hibbert are delicious, Danny Burstein is bigger than life, Troy Britton Johnson is a perfect smiling matinee idol, Garth & Jason Kravits are very funny and Jennifer Smith is a flawless stupid chorine.

Casey Nicholaw directs and choreographs everything with imagination, humor and love for the material. He even manages to do something very rare today, he surprises us. There are at least two things in this show that really took me by surprise: one is the opening of act 2 (I know, this is a one act play, but the Man in The Chair makes a pause to go to the bathroom and that’s when the side B of the record starts to play) and the other is very close to the end. Simply amazing!

As for the production in itself, well there’s no flaws in it. The sets are imaginative, the costumes colorful, the lightning perfect and everything on that stage was well thought and prepared. This is the best original musical that Broadway has seen in years and it’s a pity it didn’t win the Tony for Best Musical.

This musical gave me one of the best, most exciting and emotional theatre nights of my life. Don’t miss it! It’s a work of genius and a brand new classic!

 

 Music and Lyrics by LISA LAMBERT and GREG MORRISON

Book by BOB MARTIN and DON McKELLAR       

Directed and Choreographed by CASEY NICHOLAW

Photos © Joan Marcus (the one below is by Aubrey Reuben)

Rated by Jorge: +++++