The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem presents The Drowsy Chaperone
When The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem [LTWS] brought down the curtain on A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder in February 2020, they had no idea that it would be more than two years until a musical would play on their stage again. This month, that moment arrives with the opening of a “musical within a comedy,” The Drowsy Chaperone.
“As we planned for our 2021-22 Season, we knew we wanted to bring lighter, funny, and ‘feel-good,’ shows to the stage – to give people some levity after the long shutdown,” explained LTWS Executive Director Philip Powell. “We also knew that it would be safer to start the season cautiously, given the ongoing threat of Covid infections, so we opened with smaller shows and casts. Our first play of the season was a four-person comedy called Sylvia, which was well-received. I think The Drowsy Chaperone will also get a warm welcome from the community, it’s just such a fun show.”
The Drowsy Chaperone, with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison, and book by Bob Martin & Don McKellar, is a funny and high-spirited show, filled with splashy song and dance numbers. The musical opens in the living room of a die-hard theatre fan. As “Man in Chair” eagerly spins the cast album from his favorite – but forgotten – 1920s musical, a bubbly vintage show materializes behind him, exploding with song, dance, and merriment. The Man in Chair interjects wry comments about the music, story, and actors throughout the show, providing a laugh-out-loud narrative for the audience.
The Drowsy Chaperone originally opened at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway in May 2006, starring Sutton Foster as Janet Van de Graaf and comedian Bob Martin as Man in Chair. It ran for 674 performances before moving on to London’s West End. The musical garnered five Tony Awards and eight Drama Desk Awards and has since toured in multiple countries around the world.
Powell plays Man in Chair in The Little Theatre’s production. “Playing this role has really been fun for me,” he said. “He has a LOT of lines, so that can be challenging. Man in Chair is the quintessential theatre nerd and the comments he makes as he guides us through The Drowsy Chaperone are a hoot. We also get glimpses into his personal life as the story develops, which adds some interesting depth to the show.” Man in Chair was also played by the late comedian Bob Saget on Broadway and by Oscar and Tony Award-winning actor Geoffrey Rush in the Australian tour.
“This show is a love letter to the feel-good musicals of the 1920s,” added Director Chad Edwards. “It is a classic within a classic. Audiences who love comedy, mayhem, and romance mixed together with their musicals will love this show. The cast and crew for this production is one of the best I have ever worked with, and they are dedicated to making this an amazing production.”
Since the beginning of January, the cast has rehearsed five nights a week, with a few weekend days thrown in to cover for weather disruptions. Choreographer Katie Jo Icenhower is pleased with the results of their hard work. “We’ve challenged the cast with Broadway-quality routines, and they are meeting that challenge with positive attitudes and style,” she said. “It’s a good thing this is a cold winter because we have been heating up the rehearsal space with these energetic dances!”
Please join The Little Theatre for The Drowsy Chaperone March 4-20 at the Hanesbrands Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online at ltofws.org/drowsy-chaperone or by calling the Box Office at (336) 725-4001. This show is recommended for ages 12+ due to adult humor, including sexual innuendo and references to drinking.
Please note: The Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR lab test result from 72 hours prior to the performance you wish to attend for patrons over 18 years of age. A mask is also required while inside the building, per the City of Winston-Salem.