One of my favorite performances by Clay Aiken was his roll in the musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. Playing the role of The Man In The Chair, Clay returned to the North Carolina Theatre from May 7 – 12, 2013 to star in the show
The character, Man in the Chair, is a Broadway fanatic who is agoraphobic and a loner. He listens to the recording of the Broadway show, 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.
The Drowsy Chaperone is a play-within-a-play crammed full of every cliché, gag and gimmick from the golden age of musicals.
Clay got many positive reviews for his performance. The production was a critical success and most of the critics feel it was one of the best shows in the history of the NC Theatre.
The following reviews were some of my favorites:
Garrett Canna writes a blog titled Theatrically Musing. He graded each actor and section of the production as a report card. He said the following about Clay:
Clay Aiken: A
I’ll admit I was hesitant at seeing yet another singer try to act. The results can range from Beyonce Knowles all the way to Katherine McPhee in Smash. Aiken is the former, turning in a fully realized performance, a feat made all the more impressive since he only goes offstage once during the show’s two hour running time (and even then, it’s only for two or three minutes). His Man In Chair is positively joyous and bursting with charm. The character’s mental breakdown near show’s end was played with devastating understatement and almost no angst-ridden camp. Seems like Spamalot’s producers weren’t too far off the mark when they hired him to play Lancelot near the end of its Broadway run. (UPDATE: It seems that Clay Aiken played Sir Robin in Spamalot, and not Lancelot. My mistake!)
As published in Triangle A&E’s Theatre Review:
Last night, I went to North Carolina Theatre’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone, not as News & Observer reviewer, but just on my own. I can truthfully say it was the best all-around production by North Carolina Theatre in its 30 seasons. The all-Equity cast included two Raleigh natives: Beth Leavel, recreating her Tony Award®-winning role as the title character, and Clay Aiken in the lead role, Man in Chair. One would have expected Leavel to be stellar (which she was), but the big surprise was Aiken. In this non-singing role, he proved to be an astute comedian, landing his punch lines with consummate skill and making the reclusive character endearing in a subtle, knowing performance. It’s on until Sunday — I highly recommend it.
-Roy C. Dicks, Triangle theatre critic
It is always fun to read such great reviews.
The following video was put together by The North Carolina Theatre.
Did you have a chance to see this musical with Clay?