Award-winning musical comedy plays for short run in London this May
The award-winning musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone returns to London in May this year, in a new production by leading amateur theatre company Sedos.
The Drowsy Chaperone started in 1997, when Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert, Greg Morrison and several friends created a spoof of old musicals for the stag party of Bob Martin and Janet van de Graaf. Their namesakes are the main love interest characters in the finished piece.
The Drowsy Chaperone first opened in Toronto in 1998 and debuted on Broadway in 2006. The first West End production took place in 2007, with Elaine Page among the cast. The Drowsy Chaperone has won five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards.
Ten years since that original London production, Sedos will stage The Drowsy Chaperone from 3 to 13 May 2017 at the Bridewell Theatre, just off Fleet Street.
The Drowsy Chaperone tells the story of Man in Chair, who turns to his record collection as a cure for his “non-specific sadness”. As the musical plays, we are transported into the world of a 1920s musical where there are gangsters, mistaken identities and a wedding that may or may not happen.
Sedos director Emma J Leaver says: “I first saw The Drowsy Chaperone in the Australian premiere production in 2010, with Geoffrey Rush as Man in Chair. As a musical geek it connected with me at a very simple level — when I feel sad I put on a soundtrack and it makes me feel better. The joy I feel in escapism, not matter how nonsensical, is real.
“The show within show concept is challenging, yet makes it more engaging. When the Man in Chair, our narrator of sorts, puts on the record of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ and gives his running commentary, revealing small parts of his story, we recognise something endearing.
“We see something familiar, someone who turns to a hobby when they feel lonely or sad, and finds comfort in the safety of imagination and temporary escapism from the real world. I think this is something our audience can connect to, that when we hook into our own geekiness — for whatever we are passionate about — we have a means of retreat and simple joy.
“And what a place to retreat to — a 1920s world full of mayhem and silliness, with competitive divas, larger than life Broadway caricatures, physical comedy, clever word play, tap dancing and rollerskating. During this short show, the audience will be drawn into a world of fun, where they too can forget their troubles briefly and leave with a little tune to carry with them.”