Written by Patrick Chavis
Photo Credit: Jon Blea
The Drowsy Chaperone is playing now at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton and runs from September 20 – 28, 2022.
The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical about a made-up musical from the 1920s called The Drowsy Chaperone. The show is narrated by an opinionated older man (Jimmy Hippenstiel) who critiques and controls the play in his apartment as he plays it from his old record player.
This musical is incredibly goofy — embracing it from beginning to end. The show knows what it is and doesn’t depart from it. The narrator is what makes this show work, and he makes it more modern. Remove the narrator, and the musical on its own is only mildly interesting. The show is well structured, and the script has plenty of enjoyable, funny moments. Some stand-out tunes are – “I Am Aldolpho” and “Show Off.”
The set looks like a musical theatre fan’s loft in New York City. It’s very gray and weathered looking. It’s decorated with pictures and posters of popular musicals. You can tell they put a lot of quality work into this set, which helps set the proper mood for the upcoming lunacy.
The show has a live band in the back providing the music, and they do a great job. It’s a pleasure when you have a tight band like this supporting the singing and the acting. There’s nothing like it.
The frequent audio mic issues were distracting and took away from the production.
For this type of show, the actual performances were relatively tame. I could envision a show like this being much funnier under different circumstances. However, this show gets the job done.
At the end of the day, it’s a fun show making fun of and idolizing the art form of musical theatre. Electric Company does an admirable job, and then some, of presenting the material.