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Previewed 14 May 2007, Opened 6 June 2007, Closed 4 August 2007 at the Novello Theatre in London
Broadway's totally original 'new musical within a comedy' and winner of the 2006 Tony for 'Best New Musical' - The Drowsy Chaperone in London starring the multi award-winning actress and recording artist Elaine Paige in the title role.
To chase his blues away, a modern day musical theatre addict known simply as 'Man in Chair' drops the needle on his favourite LP - the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. From the crackle of his hi-fi, the uproariously funny musical magically bursts to life on stage, telling the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married, her producer who sets out to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone, the debonair groom, the dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs.
The Drowsy Chaperone in London stars Elaine Paige in the title role with Summer Strallen as 'Janet Van De Graaff', Bob Martin as 'Man in the Chair', John Partridge as 'Robert Martin', Anne Rogers as 'Mrs Tottendale', Nickolas Grace as 'Underling', Joseph Alessi as 'Aldolpho', Sean Kingsley as 'George', Nick Holder as 'Feldzeig', Selina Chilton as 'Kitty', Enyonam Gbesemete as 'Trix', Cameron Jack and Adam Stafford along with Kenneth Avery-Clark, Vanessa Barmby, Chris Bennett, Vivienne Carlyle, Nina French, Mark Goldthorp, Paul Iveson, Sherrie Pennington and Lincoln Stone. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw with set designs by David Gallo, costume designs by Gregg Barnes and lighting by Ken Billington and Brian Manahan. Elaine Paige's extensive West End credits include playing 'Anna' in Christopher Renshaw's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I (London Palladium 2000), she was also the original 'Grizabella' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats (New London Theatre 1981).Summer Strallen's London theatre credits include taking over the role of 'Maria' from Connie Fisher in Jeremy Sams' revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music (London Palladium 2008).
Winner of the most 2006 Tony Awards' of any musical on Broadway and the New York Drama Critics' Circle and Drama Desk Awards for 'Best Musical', The Drowsy Chaperone promises to address the great unspoken desire in all our hearts to be entertained! Elaine Paige said: "I saw The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway and loved it and now I'm very excited about returning to the West End in this wonderfully funny, original new musical. I'm really looking forward to being part of a terrific ensemble piece and I think we're all going to have a lot of fun. I can't wait to get started!"
"This is, in short, a musical for people who hate musicals. It subverts the genre with such gusto that I found it quite irresistible. It is the anti-musical musical. In its clever, post-ironic sort of way, it hits all the right notes without having a single song that's worth humming along to, but then, as Man in Chair concedes, The Drowsy Chaperone is not by any stretch of the imagination a great musical, but he happens to like it. The cast in Casey Nicholaw's uproariously funny production play bad actors to ironic perfection. John Partridge is wonderful... Summer Strallen is close to sublime... [Elaine Paige] parodies herself and does it hilariously... The big hit of the summer." The Sunday Telegraph
"When Man In Chair feels blue, he tells us, he puts on a record of The Drowsy Chaperone, and the piece comes to life before us. The structure has promise. The show, alas, is dismal. It's a typical tale of 'mix-ups, mayhem and a gay wedding' (from the days when gay just meant jolly), of exhausted Broadway stereotypes with exhausting paste-on smiles, throughout which Bob Martin's Man In Chair keeps up a highcamp commentary stuffed with nudgenudge innuendo. Elaine Paige plays the title role - a diminutive and difficult dipso diva with a legendary Napoleon complex - to the manner born. In the single good number, Summer Strallen, as the infinitely leggy showgirl about to give it all up to become a wife, claims that she doesn't 'wanna show off no more' - and reveals an indefatigable exhibitionism as well as a professional's ability to change costume and key without missing a beat and while doing the splits. There's no shortage of sequins, but in spite of the presence of a double-act of pastry chefs (who deserved to have their rolling pins rammed down their witless throats), it's a half-baked show." THe Mail on Sunday
"It is essentially an act of homage to the American shows of the Twenties and starts with a musical theatre anorak listening to a recording of a 1928 musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. Suddenly his dingy apartment is transformed into a high-kicking, toe-tapping musical dream, complete with magnificently garish sets and technicolour costumes... There follows a clever parody of every musical comedy cliche off-the-wall heroine, snooty English butler, a brace of gangsters and a lively mishmash of mix-ups and mayhem. More than that, it brings back the wonderful Elaine Paige to the London stage in the showstopping title role... The Drowsy Chaperone is a frolicking great show of immense colour and pace and a must to see." The Daily Express
"It isn't easy to write a musical, and that's an understatement. So, for Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison to set out to write not just an old-style musical, but a musical within a musical, a deconstructed musical, a meta-musical, was a bold move. The results are not always perfect, but, at their best, they are wonderfully smart and funny, while still offering all the spangly, high-kicking pleasures of the pre-postmodern show... It all works, as they say, on a number of levels. The musical itself is a cod-1920s tale of an upcoming wedding threatened by misunderstanding. But outside that is our Man in Chair, commenting throughout, and touchingly exemplifying, as he does so, the huge emotional investment people can make in musicals, as in perhaps no other art form... There is a furious energy throughout: that crazed show- time energy that has people doing back flips or multiple spins with manic fixed grins, never appearing to need to stop for oxygen." The Sunday Times
The Broadway production opened at The Marquis Theatre on 1 May 2006 where it continues to play. The production won 5 five 2006 Tony Awards including for 'Best Book of a Musical', 'Best Original Score', 'Best Featured Actress in a Musical', 'Best Scenic Design of a Musical' and 'Best Costume Design of a Musical'. In addition it also won seven 2006 Drama Desk Awards including for 'Outstanding Musical', 'Outstanding Book of a Musical', 'Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical', 'Outstanding Lyrics', 'Outstanding Set Design of a Musical', 'Outstanding Music' and 'Outstanding Costume Design'.
The Drowsy Chaperone in London at the Novello Theatre previewed from 14 May 2007, opened on 6 June 2007 and closed on 4 August 2007.