Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Drowsy Chaperone

Max Ferguson, Scott RC Levy, & Becca Vourvoulas

Book by:   Bob Martin and Don McKellar
VenueColorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Running Time:  2 hours, 15 minutes (includes 15 minute intermission)
Date of Performance:  Friday, May 31, 2013

The Drowsy Chaperone begins with a bit of irony; the narrator/Man in Chair is "blue" ("blue" being a little self-conscious anxiety resulting in a non-specific sadness). The cure for the blues?  Man in Chair takes us back to a fictional 1928 musical (one of his favorites) called "The Drowsy Chaperone."  The irony is that although the Man in Chair is blue, no one else is after the exhilarating, laugh out loud romp that is The Drowsy Chaperone.
A play within a play, the Man in Chair plays his cherished 33 and 1/3 RPM long playing record (Google it if you don't know what that is) of the Drowsy Chaperone original soundtrack as the story plays out before our eyes on the stage.
Having won five Tony Awards in 2006, The Drowsy Chaperone is a nearly perfect night at the theater.  It has an inventive and very funny script, engaging music, and fizzy choreography.  Predictably, it is no small feat to put this production together.  Finding the right mix of acting, singing, dancing, comedic timing, and musical talent is difficult, but the success of The Drowsy Chaperone depends heavily on all of these elements.
Director Cory Moosman has put together a superb cast that is more than equal to the task.  Each is multitalented, and the cast is truly greater than the sum of the its parts.  They don't just bring the necessary talent to the stage, but also an infectious energy and a sincere sense of fun.  

Becca Vourvoulas as Janet Van De Graaff
Becca Vourvoulas (as Janet Van De Graaff) is a show stopper; she can hold a note for what seems like an eternity.  The term "takes your breath away" is descriptive; that she doesn't pass out from a lack of oxygen is amazing.  
Max Ferguson (as Robert Martin) and Zachary Seliquini Guzman (as George) are marvelous doing "Cold Feets" in the first act.  Tap dancing is not yet a lost art, but it's close.  Ferguson and Guzman remind us why we love the clickety clack of feet on floorboards.  The two of them do a difficult dance routine flawlessly and with a flourish. They earned the spontaneous, sincere applause the audience showered on them at the end of the number.
The technical crew is as talented as the cast; the set, lighting, sound, and costumes were all top shelf.  Costume designer Janson Fangio dressed the cast in authentic 1920s outfits, with an emphasis on color, fit, and finish.  Thanks to Fangio. everyone on the stage looked picture perfect for their roles.  
Obviously, no musical production can succeed without excellent music, and the musicians under Jay Hahn's direction provide it in abundance.  All too often the musicians labor in the background, in the dark, and in a pit.  Director Cory Moosman wisely gave the audience a chance to recognize them at the opening of the second act.  
I haven't said much about the plot here; it is a farce, after all, and what else do you need to know?  Suffice it to say that virtually every woman on stage is wearing a wedding dress at the end.  I don't do spoilers, so you'll have to see for yourself how a show about a wedding (singular) turns into a show about a half dozen couples heading to the altar.
The Drowsy Chaperone ticks all the boxes.  It's a high energy, outrageously funny evening of musical theater.  

Photo Credits:  
This show closes on Sunday June 2, 2013.  
This is a family show; there's no vulgarity, no nudity, and no violence.  For pre-show dining, check out Cafe 36 at the Fine Arts Center.  They do a special menu for each production; The Drowsy Chaperone menu was excellent.  I highly recommend the Adobo Braised Pork Relleno.

Director:  Cory Moosman
Scenic Design:  Erik D. Diaz
Lighting Design:  Jonathan Spencer
Costumer Design:  Janson Fangio
Sound Design:  Christian Medovich
Musical Director:  Jay Hahn
Choreography:  Mary Ripper Baker

Man in Chair:  Scott RC Levy (also Producing Artistic Director)
Mrs. Tottendale:  Laurie Gabriel
Robert Martin:  Max Ferguson
George:  Zachary Seliquini Guzman
Adolpho:  Stephen Day
Janet Van De Graaff:  Becca Vourvoulas
The Drowsy Chaperone:  Amy Sue Hardy

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