Funny musical brightens Middlebury stage

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Community Players’ production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” will open Nov. 29 and close Dec. 9 at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. It’s a terrible title for a wonderful show.
In fact, the script sat on the producer’s desk for months because he couldn’t believe a musical with a title like “The Drowsy Chaperone” could be any good. Luckily, he finally read it because the musical went on to win five Tony awards in 2006, including Best Book and Best Score, and has convulsed audiences across the country ever since.
The show begins when the Man in Chair — a cranky, neurotic recluse who escapes from the stress of modern life by listening to Broadway cast albums — invites us to listen to his favorite show with him. Although he’s never seen “The Drowsy Chaperone,” he knows it by heart and recreates for us what it must have been like to be in the 1928 opening night audience. When he puts the needle on the record, the stage fills with the cast and chorus of the opening number and soon we’re in the middle of a gut-busting parody of a 1920s musical — one constantly interrupted by the Man in Chair who fills us in about the stars, their secrets, their feuds and their fates. Completed by a tuneful and catchy score, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a sure-fire evening of laughs and music.
The show runs Thursday through Sunday on two consecutive weekends. Show times are 8 p.m. for the Thursday to Saturday shows, and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees. Tickets are $15 for the Thursday shows, $23 ($18 for students with ID) for all other performances, and can be purchased at the THT box office, 802-382-9222, or online at townhalltheater.org. ASL interpretation will be available at the Dec. 2 show.

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