Producer Kevin McCollum commented: “We are incredibly proud of The Drowsy Chaperone, which we have seen grow from a 30-minute vignette into a multi award-winning Broadway musical. London ticket sales for our show have been slower than needed to sustain a longer run at the Novello. Whilst regrettably having made the decision to close the show, we are pleased to have brought this wonderfully original new musical to the West End with a first-class company who have brought to life a production we are incredibly proud of.”
A parody of 1920s romantic musicals, The Drowsy Chaperone begins with a modern-day musical theatre addict, the Man in Chair, who, to chase his blues away, drops the needle on his favourite LP, the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. From the crackle of his hi-fi, the musical bursts to life on stage, telling the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married, her producer who sets out to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone (Elaine Paige), the debonair groom, the dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs.
The UK production lured Paige back to the West End stage after an absence of seven years to play the title role. For the opening, show co-creator Bob Martin reprised his role as the narrator, Man in Chair, and was succeeded last week by the League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton (See News, 22 Jun 2007).
The London cast also features Summer Strallen, Nickolas Grace, John Partridge, Selina Chilton, Joseph Alessi, Anne Rogers, Nick Holder, Enyoman Gbesmete, Cameron Jack, Adam Stafford and Sean Kinglsey.
The Drowsy Chaperone, which started life in 1998 as a sketch for a stag do in Toronto, opened at the Marquis Theatre in New York in May last year and won five 2006 Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Score.
It has music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a book by Don McKellar and Bob Martin. Broadway’s Casey Nicholaw, who made his West End debut with his choreography on Spamalot, both choreographs and directs. Set designs are by David Gallo, costume designs are by Gregg Barnes, lighting is by Ken Billington and Brian Monahan, with sound design by Acme Sound Partners, orchestrations by Larry Blank and dance and incidental music arrangements by Glen Kelly.
The Drowsy Chaperone is produced in the West End by Kevin McCollum, Roy Miller, Bob Boyett, Stephanie McClelland, Barbara Freitag and Jill Furman. In addition to its ongoing Broadway run, a North American tour of the musical will begin in Toronto in September and international companies are being prepared for Japan and Australia.
Back in London, no further productions have yet been announced for the Novello.
- by Terri Paddock