Music with your comedy: TCT's 'Drowsy Chaperone' built for laughs

TUPELO – Love is in the air and comedy is everywhere else during Tupelo Community Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
“One thing about this show,” said Rick Griswold, the narrator, “it is the funniest I have ever seen, as far as the script. It has sight gag after sight gag. The characters are way over the top. It’s almost a cartoon.”
The curtain will rise Thursday at the Lyric Theatre, where Griswold will be The Man in the Chair. He’s a bachelor who enjoys playing cast albums from old Broadway musicals.
“He’s trying to escape the dreary horrors of everyday life,” Griswold said.
The Man pulls the “The Drowsy Chaperone” record out of its sleeve, puts it on the turntable and hits “play.”
“What happens is almost like a dream sequence, where the show goes on in the background,” he said.
As mentioned before, the show that plays out in The Man’s imagination is a love story, but there are complications. In order to marry Robert, Janet needs to leave her job with the Feldzieg Follies. That could cost Mr. Feldzieg a lot of money, and he has anxious investors.
“There are two gangsters disguised as pasta chefs and they’re putting the squeeze on Feldzieg,” said Angela Howard, who plays Feldzieg’s girlfriend, Kitty. “They don’t want the marriage to go through.”
When the groom seemingly falls for a French woman with an amazing singing voice, it looks like Feldzieg’s wish comes true, and love is lost.
Not so fast – “The Drowsy Chaperone” was originally created to be part of the real wedding celebrations of Robert Martin and his bride, Janet van de Graaf.
“After they did that for the wedding, people told them, ‘You have to do a full musical,’” said Debby Gibbs, director.
The expanded version of “The Drowsy Chaperone” won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Score in 2006.
At an hour and a half with no intermission, it’s a fast-paced, eager-to-please show. Expect it to end happily ever after, as well as over the top.
“Don’t worry,” Gibbs said. “Everything turns out fine.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal