The roaring 20s are back at the Seattle Musical Theatre

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Man in the Chair, with musical characters
Photo by Danielle Barnum
Seattle Musical Theatre presents the first Seattle-based production of The Drowsy Chaperone, February 11 - March 5, at their theatre in Sandpoint Magnuson. Magnuson Park, 7210 62nd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Friday-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 pm.

The Drowsy Chaperone is the tale of a modern day musical theater maven, known simply as "Man in Chair." To chase his blues away, he drops the needle on his favorite LP - the 1928 madcap musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. As his hi-fi crackles, the musical magically bursts to life on-stage. We learn the tale of the pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up showbiz to get hitched, and her producer's attempts to sabotage her impending nuptials. Hilarious antics ensue with her chaperone, the debonair groom, the dizzy chorus girl, the Latin lover and a pair of gangsters masquerading as pastry chefs. Man in Chair's love of The Drowsy Chaperone speaks to anyone who has ever been transported by the theater.

Photo by Danielle Barnum
Starring as the central character, Man in Chair, is one of Seattle’s busiest actors, Jon Lutyens. With credits ranging from Theater Schmeater to ArtsWest to The 5th Avenue Theatre, Jon was seen this summer in Book-It’s Gregory Award-winning production of The Cider House Rules and is currently in Village Theatre’s Anne of Green Gables. Joining Jon will be a cast of established and up-and-coming Seattle musical theatre talent.

Directing the show will be Contemporary Classics Artistic Director and Gregory Award winner Brandon Ivie in his final Seattle directorial credit before relocating to New York City.

Photo by Danielle Barnum
The Drowsy Chaperone got its start as an odd thing: a wedding present at a stag party. Bob Martin (who would later become the bookwriter and star as Man in Chair) received The Drowsy Chaperone as a wedding present for he and his wife, Janet Van De Graaf (both of whom are now characters in the musical). Their friends knew of Mr. Martin’s obsession with musicals and wrote him and his wife one. 

It was such a hit that they remounted it at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. After transferring to a larger theatre in Canada, it was picked up by producer Roy Miller, went through rewrites, opened in Los Angeles and then transferred to Broadway. The original production was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won five, including Best Book and Best Score, and played 674 performances.

Seattle Musical Theatre (formerly Civic Light Opera) is conveniently located in Magnuson Park, at 7120 62nd Ave NE . Parking is plentiful and free. Performances are Friday through Sunday, with one Thursday night offering. Tickets are $30-$40 with special rates for seniors, students and group sales. Tickets can be purchased at the website or by calling the box office at 206-363-2809.


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