It was announced on Wednesday, February 13th, that Clay Aiken would be returning to the North Carolina Theatre for a week of performances in the Broadway Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone.
Although I am a huge fan of Broadway shows, I did not know much about this musical. I wanted to know more about what to expect to see on the stage.
The music and lyrics of The Drowsy Chaperone were written by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. The show opened on Broadway on May 1, 2006 and promptly won the Tony Award for the Best Book and The Best Music. The show also had major productions in Los Angeles, New York, London, Japan, and Toronto. The show also had two North American Tours.
The audience is greeted by the narrator, Man in Chair, sitting on a darkened stage. He is a fan of vintage musicals who seems to be suffering from free-floating depression, and he quickly decides to cheer things up by playing a record of the original cast recording of a (fictional) Broadway musical entitled “The Drowsy Chaperone”.
No sooner has the needle touched the record than we, together with the narrator, are transported to a 1928 Broadway theater and into “The Drowsy Chaperone”, a play-within-a-play crammed full of every cliché, gag and gimmick from the golden age of musicals.
At about the halfway mark of the performance:
…the Man in Chair attempts to play the record of the Second Act of the show. However he mistakenly begins playing a song (“Message From a Nightingale”) from a different musical entirely, causing the setting of the play to temporarily shift to an oriental palace, and all of the actors to assume new roles. Man in Chair hurriedly corrects his mistake and The Drowsy Chaperone resumes.
Finally, at the end:
The show is abruptly cut short by a power failure in Man in Chair’s apartment. As the Superintendent arrives to attend to the breakers, the Man explains his love for the show as an antidote to “the dreary horrors of the real world.” The entire cast joins him onstage for the grand finale.
THE DROWSY CHAPERONE pays tribute to the Jazz-age shows of the 1920’s and the power those shows held to transport us into a dazzling fantasy and to lift our spirits in times of sadness.
Clay is playing the role of The Man in the Chair, a Broadway fanatic who is agoraphobic and a loner. He listens to the recording, hoping that it will cure his profound sadness. The Man in the Chair provides a running commentary throughout the show.
At the end of the musical, the Man in the Chair is disappointed that the show is over. He begins to sing and is finally joined by the rest of the cast who cheer him and a sing with him.
I am excited to see Clay in this challenging role. It will be interesting to see the character he creates as he plays the part.
Have you seen this play?
Will you be able to see Clay in this role?