by Beki Pineda

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE – Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison; Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar; Directed by Kelly Van Oosbree. Produced by Vintage Theatre Productions and Performance Now Theatre Company (Presented at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton, Aurora) through October 9. Tickets available at 303-856-7830 or vintagetheatre.org.

Those of you who were unlucky enough to miss the recent production of DROWSY by Performance Now Theatre Company at Lakewood Cultural Center, you now have a second chance to see this star-studded production. Vintage Theatre has moved the show to its Aurora space – cast, set, and costumes. The move to a smaller, more intimate space allows a closer connection for the audience. You can enjoy the surprises sprinkled throughout the clever set created by Andrew Bates. You can inspect the brilliant set dressing touches that celebrate the lead character’s love of theatre. You can marvel up close and personal the beautiful vintage 20’s costumes created by Nikki Harrison.

But the thing that makes this show a cut above is the cast – nearly all of whom were able to make the journey from Lakewood to Aurora. The show revolves around a wedding day. The bride is Janet, a Broadway star, played by the talented Colby Reisinger who is stepping into the role. She sings, she dances, she does cartwheels and she does a mean French accent. But she doesn’t want to show off. Her nervous groom is played by returning Andy Seivers. His best man is Andrew Bates who shares a terrific tap dancing number with his buddy. Nancy Begley returns as the Chaperone who gets drowsy when she drinks, wears beautiful clothes and sings a rousing anthem about bumbling on. She also manages to seduce the Latin Lothario Adolpho – played by new cast member Matt LaFontaine. His slick arrogant lover is supposed to be compromising the bride but he gets the wrong girl.

Comic relief is provided by Mr. Feldzieg (George Zamarripa), Janet’s producer who is trying to stop the wedding so she will continue working and making money for him. He is assisted by his ditzy girlfriend Kitty (Addrienne Hampton and two strong arm gangsters who have infiltrated the wedding disguised as pastry chefs. They are brought to comic life by Kris Graves and Tim Campbell. Kitty turns out not to be as ditzy as you are led to believe and gets what she wanted all along in the end. In a last minute move, Trixie the aviatrix (Micheala Murray) shows up with her airplane to save the day. Together this cast brings director Kelly Van Oosbree’s vision to life once again.

The charm and humor of this sentimental script honors a “typical” 1920’s old time musical full of stock characters and comic cliches. The creators of this clever script had the brilliant idea of adding a character who is not really IN the play that is being played out in front of the audience, but serves as a narrator and guide for the audience. He uses the soundtrack of the show to lift himself out of the “blues” occasionally and loves the music , characters, and the actor’s playing them. The Man in the Chair is played by returning Bernie Cardell in a role he was born to play. His love for this particular faux musical is evident in his knowledge of the players and their role in his theatre world  Bernie breaks the fourth wall to address the audience from the first words and reveals his personal journey as well as everything about the show’s music and fun. Without his articulate and humorous explanation of each scene, this would be just another over-the-top silly musical. Bernie’s performance is nuanced, irreverent, thoughtful and poignant.

You will laugh – you will weep – you will cheer the dancing and applaud the cast. Promise!!

A WOW factor of 9.5!!

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