The University of Victoria (UVic) expects a Canadian-born Broadway hit to be the Phoenix Theatre’s biggest song and dance show in over a decade.
Eight years before it became a five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ – running at the Phoenix Theatre from Nov. 8 to 24 – was a skit performed at a stag party for the marriage of two Toronto actors – Bob Martin and Janet Van De Graff.
Those names are still reflected in the characters of the soon-to-be-betrothed couple in this musical-within-a-play.
“It’s a fun pastiche of old Broadway and the music is really quite lovely,” said Jacques Lemay, an internationally renowned choreographer who’s the guest director and choreographer for the UVic production. “It’s remarkably both nostalgic and current, as we watch the parody of the past through the eyes of the imaginative, agoraphobic and slightly sarcastic narrator, the Man in the Chair, who’s stuck here in the present.”
According to UVic’s Department of Theatre, the real magic of The Drowsy Chaperone is derived from the transformation of the Man in the Chair’s shabby one-room apartment, where he listens to his records and escapes into the glamorous world of his musicals.
“The entire department has been anticipating this production since it was announced last spring,” said Associate Professor Allana Lindgren. “And with a cast of 19 students, it will be one of the biggest song and dance shows the Phoenix has produced in a well over a decade.”
The public is also invited to a free pre-show lecture Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. with Anthony Vickery, a theatre historian in the Department of Theatre who specializes in Broadway productions, to discuss the role of Broadway nostalgia that is parodied in The Drowsy Chaperone.
The opening night for The Drowsy Chaperone will be held Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. Evening performances take place from Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m. until Nov. 24. A couple of matinees will also be held on Nov. 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.
Weekday performances cost $30 for adults, $25 for senior and $16 for students. Weekend performances at 8 p.m. cost $30.