Comic nostalgia powers Theatre of Dare musical ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’

Published 2:08 pm Monday, March 11, 2024

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On its surface, Theatre of Dare’s The Drowsy Chaperone is a wistful tribute to classic musicals done by the likes of George and Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter.

But dig a little deeper, and audiences may find a story of how nostalgia can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

“It’s a show-within-a-show with a lot of layers,” says director Damon Horak. “On one hand, you’ve got a farcical 1920’s musical with romance and great music and dancing. On the other, you’ve got an unreliable narrator whose memory of the show itself is slightly skewed.”

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That narrator is simply billed as the “Man In Chair,” who plays a record of the fictional 1928 Broadway production of The Drowsy Chaperone while offering his opinions and annotations of the show as it comes to life behind him. The story involves glamorous showgirl Janet Van De Graaff (Adara Huls) and her impending marriage to Robert Martin (Evan Tillett). Standing in the way of their happy ending is Janet’s desperate producer Feldzieg (Larry Warner), gangsters posing as pastry chefs (Lara Parks, Missy Eppard), a Latin Lothario (Christian Hill), and Janet’s perpetually drunk chaperone (Alana Hoare).

As you might imagine, mix-ups and comical musical mayhem ensue.

The Drowsy Chaperone began its journey as a bawdy spoof of old-timey Broadway musicals done by a group of friends for a 1997 stag party in Toronto. After going through several reworkings and expansions, it eventually came to Broadway in 2006, becoming an instant hit and gaining 13 Tony nominations, winning five. Since then, the show has been performed worldwide by both amateur and professional theaters.

For Theatre of Dare, it was a perfect fit for a big spring musical.

“I think our audiences will really enjoy the unbridled nostalgia of this production,” said Tim Hass, who takes on the role of the reclusive “Man In Chair.” “The music, the dancing and the comedy are all a lot of fun and will bring back fond memories of classic Broadway shows. There will be a whole lot of smiles leaving the theater after this one.”

“The Drowsy Chaperone” opened last weekend and additional performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 14, 15 and 16 with a matinee March 17 at 2 p.m. All performances will be at Theatre of Dare in Kitty Hawk, 3848 N. Croatan Highway. Tickets are available online at and at the door, subject to availability. This show contains mild adult situations and innuendo.