McLean Community Players The Drowsy ChaperoneBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 18th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
McLean Community Players
Alden Theatre, McLean, VA
Through January 29th
2:00 without intermission
$19/$17 Seniors or Students
Reviewed January 15th, 2011
The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical comedy poking innocent fun at the musical era of the 1920’s and 30’s. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar.
A new show! Who would have thunk? The DC area premier of The Drowsy Chaperone was a fun musical comedy that did not take itself seriously, but performed a serious task delighting audiences with song and dance. A Man talks to the audience about his love of theatre, and plays for us some of his favorite soundtracks. When he puts on The Drowsy Chaperone, a love story featuring many cliched characters and situations, we are all transported to a performance of the show, occasionally interrupted by the Man as he clarifies specific points of the production.
The Man in Chair, Larry Baird, played the role of narrator; providing insights into what was happening behind the music as well as throwing in his own two cents to provide just the right amount of laughter. The character’s name really was “Man in Chair.” And that description really set the tone for the evening. Saturday’s audience was open and enjoyed the performance. Baird’s delivery was excellent and even seemed to be making eye contact with audience members at times (even though the foot lights were probably blinding). Lisa Anne Bailey played the Drowsy Chaperone whose purpose was to keep the bride from seeing the groom before the wedding hysterically. Bailey portrayed the perfect combination of drunkenness (no small feat during prohibition) and disdain for all that “love stuff.” Her strong vocals really carried throughout the theatre. However she finally met her match with the sly fox/wannabe ladies man Aldopho played by Christopher Thorn. Thorn used his overacting to great advantage. He played to the audience with asides and whispers and used his Elvis-like hip swivel to woo, as it turned out, the wrong woman, but that did not seem to bother the man at all. The entire cast was loaded with enthusiasm and the high energy that never came down.
Director Wade Corder has combined his wonderful cast with skilled designers to create a delightful escape. Set Designer Bill Brown used his creativity and used the theatre to its fullest. The bed coming out of the wall was one example of creativity. The bright colors and larger than life props made everything feel big. The costumes by Kathy Dunlop and Anne Vandenverg were colorful; their contrast with the Man’s costume helped the and offered With some flashy dance numbers by Choreographer Amanda Cane and Assistant Choreographer Kate Roehr, the dance styles seemed reminiscent of the 20’s and 30’s. “Cold Feets” featuring Duane Monahan and Justin Latus tap dancing, and “Show Off” featuring Claire O’Brien were especially well received by the sold out audience. The only distraction was the orchestra at times seemed to drown out the singers. It may have been the acoustics of our seats under the balcony, but there were several songs that the lyrics could not be heard.
The Drowsy Chaperone is a fun look at the roaring 30’s that the entire family will enjoy.
I fell in love with the soundtrack of The Drowsy Chaperone first, which is so appropriate for a show that celebrates musical theatre through records, or in my case, digital downloads. Then my family and I took a weekend trip to New York in 2006 and saw The Drowsy Chaperone, and two other shows. Talk about a whirlwind visit! I loved them all, but with its ingenious framing device, great comedic timing, costumes and sets, and music that stays with you; Drowsy certainly was the best for me. I can tell you that we left the theatre laughing, singing, and celebrating life.
The Drowsy Chaperone started out as a short spoof of 1920’s musical styles, created for the bachelor party of Robert Martin and Janet Van De Graaff. Yes they are real people! Mr. Martin joined his bachelor party friends who had imagined the work, Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison as co-writer and originator of the “Man in Chair” role. Nine years and many alterations later, it arrived on Broadway in May 2006 and won more Tony Awards that year than any other show!
My co-directors, Music Director, Paul Nasto, Choreographer and Assistant director, Amanda Cane, and I are proud to bring you the
area premier of this wonderful show. We are grateful to producers Summer and Terry and the McLean Community Players for the
choice to bring this big little show to the gorgeous Alden Theatre as a part of MCP’s fourth full season on Alden’s stage.
With a cast of 17, an orchestra of 14, designers, stage hands, builders, managers, ushers and more; we are more than 50 people volunteering our time just to share a laugh with you. We hope you enjoy it. And if you do, please tell your friends!
Photos provided by the McLean Community Players.
- Man in Chair: Larry Baird
- The Drowsy Chaperone: Lisa Anne Bailey
- Janet Van de Graf: Claire O’Brien
- Robert Martin: Duane Monahan
- Aldolpho: Christopher Thorn
- Feldzieg: Allen McRae
- Kitty: Jordan Hougham
- Trix: Genevieve Williams
- Mrs. Tottendale: Jennifer Pagnard
- Underling: Byron Wilkinson
- George: Justin Latus
- Gangster #1: Quinn McCord
- Gangster #2: Jarrett Goldfedder
- Ensemble: Christopher Borton, Kieth Flores, Kristen Otto, Shannon Kingett, Amanda Cane
- Superintendent: Christopher Borton
- Producers: Summer Donaldson & Terry Yates
- Director: Wade Corder
- Music Director: Paul Nasto
- Musical Staging/Asst. Director: Amanda Cane
- Asst Choreographer: Kate Roehr
- Stage Managers: Don Petersen, Shayne Gardner, Adrian Steel
- Set Design: Bill Brown
- Lighting Design: Erin B. Tinsley
- Sound Design: Anna Hawkins and Bob Zeigler
- Audio Engineer: Zack Sanders
- Audio Team: Dick La Porte, Mary Renschler, Linda Stone
- Costume Design: Kathy Dunlap, with Anne Vandenberg
- Wig Design & Make-up: Kennette Holliday
- Set Dresser & Props: Mike Smith
- Asst Set Dresser & Props: Pat Jannell
- Publicity: Brent Stone
- Publicity Team: Janet Bordeaux, Summer Donaldson, Cathy Farnsworth, Patti Green-Roth, Lynn Lawhead, Jennifer Levy, Kerry Liedquist, Annie O’Neill, Tula Pendergrast, Mike Scott, Linda Stone
- Set Construction: George Farnsworth
- Set Construction Team: Bill Glikbarg, Bernie Gmiter, Dick La Porte, Summer Donaldson, Bob Zeigler (Master Carpenter), Terry Yates
- Special Painting: Dinnie Whitson
- Set Painting: Shayne Gardner
- Set Painting Team: Summer Donaldson, Bernie Gmiter, Anna Hawkins, Columba Hoban, Tula Pendergrast, Bill Severe, Dinny Whitson, Terry Yates
- Lighting Operators: Alan Bender, Beth White, Richard Hildebrand
- Backstage Team: Emily Besuden, Scott Farrell, Candice Newman, Annie O’Neill, Bill Severe, Sherry Singer, Wendy Zearhoff
- Front of House: Columba Hoban
- Playbill: George Farnsworth
- Music Director: Paul Nasto
- Reeds: Mitch Bassman, Mila Weiss, Dana Gardner, Blake Rose
- Trumpets: Terry Bradley, Curt Nette, Scott Firestone, Steve Firestone
- Trombone: Chris Bradley
- Bass Guitar/Ukulele: Eric Oganesoff
- Drums: Bill Wolski
- Percussion: Jackie Bradley
- Piano: Bill VanLear
- Keyboards: Francine Krasowska
- Rehearsal Pianist: Bill VanLear
Disclaimer: McLean Community Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. MCP also purchased advertising from ShowBizRadio.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6077.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.