Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm


The Drowsy Chaperone Roars through Woods Theatre

The Drowsy Chaperone 1A whirling kaleidoscope of vintage comedy, big band tunes, and twenties glamour: Monmouth University’s Departments of Music and Theatre transformed Woods Theater into the world of The Drowsy Chaperone; a campy 1998 musical written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.

The production ran from Nov. 9 to 11 and 14 to 18, and left every witness to the spectacle carrying a happy little tune with them.

With direction from Sheri Anderson, choreography by Bob Boross, and musical direction from Michael Gilch, the immensely gifted cast and crew delighted patrons young and old.

A show-within-a-show, The Drowsy Chaperone follows a snarky, agoraphobic theater fanatic by the name of The Man in Chair, played by Nicholas Sewell, who whisks the audience’s imagination into the world of his favorite 1928 musical, Gable and Stein’s The Drowsy Chaperone.

Accompanied solely by his trusty record player and his original Drowsy cast recording, The Man in Chair sets the tone with vivid, quip-laden storytelling.

A romp in the 1920’s materializes on-stage, as the audience is tossed into hasty preparations for the wedding of renowned starlet Janet Van de Graaf, played by Samantha Ventola, and famed heir-to-an-oil-tycoon Robert Martin, played by Joseph Marano.

With a cast of bold characters complicating the wedding plans, including Janet’s confidant, The Drowsy Chaperone, played by Erin Clemente, hilarity, confusion, and plenty of songs ensue.

The physical and vocal abilities of every actor involved were up-to-par with the exuberance of the show’s bouncy plot.

A notable number was Marano’s Robert presenting the jazzy “Cold Feets” with his best man, George, played by Thomas Lynskey, a precise tap showcase with a crooner melody to relieve his nervous jitters before the Martin-Van de Graaf wedding.

With numbers like these throughout the production, smiles were seen throughout the theater.

Having seen the show twice before, I appreciated this classic and spirited approach that was taken in conveying what can be a delightfully chaotic storyline.

The Drowsy Chaperone 2The set was clean and clear, with the interior of The Man in Chair’s quirky, yet well-organized, home being the static backdrop of the show.

The Drowsy Chaperone’s players would interact with The Man’s furniture items to move the plot, even if the musical existed in another universe entirely from The Man in Chair.

Many props were carried on and off, with limited small set pieces.

This proved to be very entertaining and conveyed the true extent of immersion that The Man in Chair experienced while listening to his favorite record; the performers were in his home and using his furniture for their production.

The costumes were nicely constructed and true to the characters’ intended era: conveying the intricacy of the Roaring Twenties as well the appropriate setting (fun twenties bathing attire by the pool, feathery robes in the bedroom, and shimmering white antique wedding dresses for the weddings).

The show was light-hearted and meant to emulate those simple and bustling twenties ‘mix-up’ musicals, but left a more meaningful message in its wake.

The Drowsy Chaperone stressed the importance of the arts to many lives, as well as the ever-present need for that which is light-hearted in order to break the dreariness that many feel on life’s funny journey.

PHOTO COURTESY of Haley R. Gasparine

PHOTO TAKEN by Haley R. Gasparine

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151