Monday, July 21, 2008

The Drowsy Chaperone @ the Ahmanson Theatre

The last of my season tickets for the Center Theatre Group went to 'The Drowsy Chaperone', a play that I knew next to nothing about, except that a good friend claimed the ticket and exclaimed that it was 'awesome'. That, and it was supposed to be about the twenties, which I'm all for. The twenties were crazy. What with the gangsters and the prohibition and what not, but I do feel like my Broadway experiences have been semi limited. I mean, I've never seen Les Miserables or Cats or any of the genuine classics. So despite the fact that I knew nothing about the show, in the season package it only cost me 25 bucks for a balcony seat.

I was expecting roaring twenties. Color me surprised when the curtain lifted into a drab, modern apartment set, and we were introduced to a gay narrator, wrapped in a Mr. Roger's style sweater, proclaiming to everyone that he was 'feeling blue', and the only cure is to listen to an original recording of a broadway musical. Also? This guy is really, really gay. In case you haven't noticed. Which is, of course, the perfect musical cliche, and one that's destined to be made fun of.
Our narrator then decided to treat us to his favorite show 'The Drowsy Chaperone', and as the 'record' started, we began to witness the show coming to life in his own living room.

It's kind of genius. It's a show, within a show, within a show. So very META. So very on crack. Not only are we watching the show, but frequently the narrator 'pauses' to provide tidbits about the 'actors' behind the roles. The result is a geniunely hilarious, off-beat musical with great music that's not at all shy about poking fun at itself and the cliche of musical theatre at large. Over-acting, silly lyrics, impossible set changes, and mind-boggling farce abounds, and it's all so tongue-in-cheek you can't help but adore it.

Linked below is a youtube video of the TONY's performance of the show-stopping, aptly named 'Show Off':

You see what I mean?

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