• Pamela Froman

The Drowsy Chaperone

When a diehard theatre fan plays his favorite cast album, the characters come to life in this hilarious musical farce. The Drowsy Chaperone is a loving send-up of the frivolously inconsequential stage musicals of the Jazz Age. Our narrator, a fan known only as Man in Chair gives a spin to the original cast recording of one such musical, providing the audience with amusing minutiae about the play and the players.

Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, The Drowsy Chaperone is a loving send-up of the Jazz Age musical, featuring one show-stopping song and dance number after another.

As Man in Chair listens to a rare recording of The Drowsy Chaperone, he is transported into the musical. The characters appear in his dingy apartment, and it is transformed into an impressive Broadway set with seashell footlights, sparkling furniture, painted backdrops, and glitzy costumes.

Kevin Ellis is our Man in Chair and his comic wit and timing help this fun-filled romp keep steaming ahead. Kevin graduated from Cal State Northridge with a theater degree and has captivated audiences in roles such as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, and George in Same Time.

Our musical opens when wealthy widow Mrs. Tottenham hosts the wedding of the year. But she is too confused as to remember why! Denise Jaffe shines in her performance as the scatter-brained socialite. Denise made her Simi Valley debut in Nunsense as Sister Robert Anne.

Janet Van de Graaff, a glittering starlet of Feldzieg’s Follies, played by Dawn Michelle, is leaving the stage for love. Of course she is only too happy to pose for pictures in the papers!

The wedding horrifies her producer, the angry and anxious Mr. Feldzieg, played by Will Shupe, whose chief investor has sent two gangsters disguised as pastry chefs to make sure he stops the wedding.Will hams it up in his performance. Plus he has to deal with his wanna-be starlet girlfriend Kitty, played by Mary Zastrow with flair and pizzaz.

Feldzieg attempts to stop the nuptials by hiring Aldolpho, a Latin lover who is hilarious when singing about his virility in “I Am Aldolpho” to seduce the bride. The plot is unsuccessful because he actually seduces the star of the show, who is Janet’s chaperone, played by Marlee Candell. Her turn as the drunk diva attitude makes the show.

It is left to the eager best man, George, played by Kyle Cooknick, to quite by accident break up the happy pair, when he sends groom Robert Martin, played by Vincent Perez, out to the garden, blindfolded, and in roller skates. It's a ludicrous scene, and hilarious.

These are the antics of The Drowsy Chaperone. This parody features a chirpy jazz age score by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and a lively, clever book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. The music boasts such tunes as the scenery-chomping “Show Off”, the double-entendre laden “Toledo Surprise”, and “As We Stumble Along”, a rousing anthem to optimistic alcoholism.

The Drowsy Chaperone is presented by Actors' Repertory Theatre of Simi and will play through September 1, 2019. Tickets are $28 Adults, $24 Seniors & Students, and $20 Children 12 & Under. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 E Los Angeles Ave. in Simi Valley. For more information call (805) 583-7900 or log onto

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