By Richard Schultz, December 2015 Issue.

The Drowsy Chaperone

Through Nov. 22

When a die-hard theater fan plays his favorite cast album, the characters come to life in this hilarious musical farce. Winner of five Tony Awards (including Best Book and Best Original Score), this loving send-up of the Jazz age features one show-stopping song and dance number after another.

With the houselights down, a man in a chair appears on stage and puts on his favorite record: the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical. The recording comes to life and The Drowsy Chaperone begins as the man in the chair looks on. Mix in two lovers on the eve of their wedding, a bumbling best man, a desperate theater producer, a not-so-bright hostess, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a misguided Don Juan and an intoxicated chaperone, and there are all the ingredients for an evening of madcap delight.

According to the show’s co-directors Marisa Brady and Jere Van Patten, both jumped at the opportunity to direct the show.

“Our narrator, the man in the chair, Matthew Harris, is someone who is shamelessly in love with musicals and we both share that love,” Brady said. “Not only is this a fun show, it’s always entertaining to poke fun at a genre that we adore. The characters remind us of others from classic musicals that we are fond of, so we get to pay homage to them, as well as point out their flaws.”

The biggest challenge, according to Van Patten, is that a significant portion of the 22-member cast is learning as they go.

“A lot of our cast … is young and they don’t know a lot of the classic musical theater characters they are playing,” Van Patten said. “Thanks to YouTube, the actors are watching videos of these performers to help understand the caricature they are playing.”

The Drowsy Chaperone

Through Nov. 22

Desert Foothills Theater

Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center

33606 N. 60th St., Scottsdale

Tickets: $26-$32.50; 480-488-1981

dftheater.org

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