Friday, October 20, 2017

The Drowsy Chaperone

Molina has the Spider Woman. Trevor has Diana Ross. The Man in the Chair has Janet Van de Graaff. Each glamorous muse welcomes you to forget your troubles.

What are the Man in the Chair's troubles? He never says outright though he admits he's "feeling a little blue." He's been married and divorced. He reads as gay (Well, not so much when Bob Saget played him) but denies it. ("I'm a very complicated person.") Now he's a recluse.

Why is The Drowsy Chaperone his favorite musical? He claims it's just "fun." And it is. Janet retires from the stage to marry Robert. Her former producer wants her back. Fidelity is tested and Janet's alcoholic drowsy Chaperone foils the producers schemes. One deus ex machina later we have a happy ending.

Purists have griped that the score sounds more 50's than 20's, particularly in Janet's homage to "Rose's Turn," while others have dismissed the show as mindless fluff. Those of us who like a darkness for flavor can see the Man in the Chair's fate as a sad one. But at the end of the day The Drowsy Chaperone remains fun. It also won Beth Leavel a Tony and provided Sutton Foster with one of her best numbers.

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