‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ is delightfully ditzy fun

Andrew Giordano and Corinne Mason in a scene  from the Company Theatre's "The Drowsy Chaperone." Photo: Zoe Bradford

Andrew Giordano and Corinne Mason in a scene from the Company Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Photo: Zoe Bradford

NORWELL — “The Drowsy Chaperone”  is pretty much the perfect spring musical.
Escape is what we want from the dreariness of the past winter and even the early spring, and here it is in this delightfully ditzy show, the winner of two Tony Awards in 2006 for Best Score and Best Book.
Everyone in the cast is going to get a chance to sing and dance at some point in this production, now at The Company Theatre through April 27.
The toe-tapping score by Lisa Lamber and Greg Morrison is a delight, with the best numbers “Cold Feets” and the jaunty “As We Stumble Along.”
The book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar is original and funny even as it borrows
from the prototypical Depression-era Busby Berkley musical — which was itself escaping something called the Great Depression — as well as some other noted musicals. The two “pastry chefs” in the show who are actually gangsters ( Justin Selig and Paul Brennan III) are lifted directly from “Kiss Me, Kate.”

Danny Bolton (Man in Chair) an th cast in a scene from "The Drowsy Chaperone." Photo: Zoe Bradford

Danny Bolton (Man in Chair) and the cast in a scene from “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Photo: Zoe Bradford

But that’s not to say there isn’t  originality in this “show within a show.”
The entire production revolves around the Man in Chair, a nondescript Everyman type living in a nondescript, Everyman-type apartment.
He is decidedly retro, and hearing the original cast album of the 1928 musical “The Drtowsy Chaperone” again fits his idea of time well spent as he battles his “non-specific sadness.”
Danny Bolton is a delightful actor who graces a number of area stages, most recently Wellesley Summer Theatre and Wheelock Family Theatre , and he is ideal fit for the whimsical resident of the comfortable chair set to the left of the stage.
He proclaims “I hate theater,” at the outset, the first of many other surprising disclosures.
He detests shows where the actors come out into the audience, and then proceeds to plant himself squarely in the audience’s laps.
As the record begins playing, the show comes to life on stage, but the Man in Chair
frequently interrupts the show to deliver anecdotes about the stars, poke fun at the thinner-than-paper plot, or go to the bathroom
Cat Umano is a fine singer/dancer as the sultry actress/ingenue Janet van De Graaf, who is to be wed and then retire, much to the disgust of a Broadway producer counting on her.
Juliana Dennis has some fine comic moments as the wealthy but clueless Mrs. Tottendale along with her perpetually put-upon servant, Underling, skillfully and drolly played by John Porcaro.
Matthew Brendan Ford is right-on as the roller-skating upright groom, Robert Martin, as are David Giagrando as George, the beleaguered Broadway producer, and his girlfriend Kitty (Carole Shannon)
Corinne Mason is the perpetually tipsy The Drowsy Chaperone,” assigned to keep Janet and her husband-to-be apart, and instead finds herself involved with Andrew Giordano (one of the finer, more versatile actors in the Boston area ) as a Latin Lothario of the worst kind, Adolpho. His hairpiece looks as if it had most recently been road kill on Route 3 before someone picked it up and it ended up on his head, and his song “Adolpho” is a hilarious highlight.
If you have a strong Man in Chair — and this production does — “Chaperone” is a fun, almost foolproof evening of entertainment.
The Company Theatre has chosen to stage it without intermission, and it comes in at just under a snappy, brisk two hours.
So throw away your cares for a couple of hours and let the Man in the Chair and his imagination take you back to a happy place.
The Company Theatre production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.“ Music and lyrics by Lisa Lamber and Greg Morrison, with book by Bob Martin and Don Mackellar .Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman, choreographed by Sally Forrest, with music direction by Michael Joseph. http://www.companytheatre.com.

 

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