Don’t sleep on The Drowsy Chaperone

Jesslyn Hodgson as Janet Van De Graaff CREDIT: ALEXIS BEDARD-CAHILL
Co-producers Allswell Productions and Musical Theatre Productions are bringing their take on this five-time Tony Award winning show to the Auburn Stage at The Grand Theatre. (Pictured: Jesslyn Hodgson as Janet Van De Graaff)

The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical that is coming to London from May 11-20. Co-producers Allswell Productions and Musical Theatre Productions are bringing their take on this five-time Tony Award winning show to the Auburn Stage at The Grand Theatre.

The music and lyrics were originally written by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, and the book was originally written by Bob Martin and Don Mckellar.

The Drowsy Chaperone can best be described as a show within a show.

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Allswell Theatre introduces the production, “With the houselights down, a man in a chair appears on stage and puts on his favourite record: the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical.”

The production unravels as the recording comes to life featuring many characters such as a bumbling best man, a desperate theatre producer, two lovers on the eve of their wedding, and many more.

Hailey Hill, the director of this production offered wider insight on what viewers can expect from The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Drowsy Chaperone started off as a gift that was written for Bob Martin, the writer for their stage party in 1997 in Toronto,” Hill said. “Bob Martin was getting married to his wife, Janet Van De Graaf, and they are the main characters of the show itself.

Hill said she loves the Canadian roots of the show. Audience members too can connect to the Ontario-based history of Drowsy.

According to Hill, “Bob loved this gift so much that he became a co-writer for the show and developed it for the Toronto Fringe in 1998.”

Jesslyn Hodgson, who plays Janet Van De Graaf acknowledged that Janet is facing a dilemma throughout the musical.

“Her main plot is that she’s trying to decide between giving up her life on the stage and the glamour of show business and fame to marry Robert,” Hodgson said.

The role of Janet is demanding, involving a few big song and dance numbers, which can be challenging but in a good way, Hodgson said.

“I really like to perform the song ‘Bride’s Lament.’ It’s a fun number, the lyrics are quite silly, but it’s over-the-top dramatic,” Hodgson said.

Jacob Wiley, meanwhile, assumes the role of George, the best man at the wedding with a very anxious and nervous personality.

“He wants everything to be perfect and is probably the only person through the whole show really fighting for this wedding to happen,” Wiley said.

Wiley described the production as “hilarious, funny and clever.”

Tickets for The Drowsy Chaperone can be purchased at tickets.grandtheatre.com. On May 14 at 1:30 p.m., there will also be a relaxed performance which is designed to provide a comfortable environment for those with sensory disorders or cognitive difficulties.