Sierra Rep presents The Drowsy Chaperone
Sierra Repertory takes its audiences to the glamorous and nostalgic world of Tony Award winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone October 16 to November 22 at the East Sonora Theatre on Mono Way. The comedy begins when a die-hard musical fan, feeling blue, dusts off his favorite cast album, a fictitious 1928 hit called The Drowsy Chaperone. The show comes to life – showy, glitzy, colorful life – in his drab living room as he wryly comments on the lush music, the thin plot and the personal lives of the actors.
“It’s such a unique concept,” said SRT Artistic Director Scott Viets, who will play the fan, the Man in the Chair. “To have the album explode into living color in his living room is so fun and unexpected.”
Viets, who usually directs and choreographs at Sierra Rep, is thrilled to dust off his acting shoes. Audiences may remember Viets taking the stage in place of absent actors and dancers from time to time, but he has never been cast in a role at Sierra Rep.
Viets can relate to his character. They’re both fans of musical theatre, though Viets says he isn’t quite the trivia-hound his character is. The Man in the Chair is thrilled to share his witty perceptions of the 1920s (“When the champagne flowed and the caviar chilled”), the leading man (“he started out as a toothpaste model”) and cell phones going off in theaters today (predictably, he’s not a fan).
“The show stops when he wants to give you another tidbit,” Viets said. “You not only end up learning the back story of all the characters in the show, but quite a bit about him as well.”
Audiences also learn about Broadway musicals of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The show within the show – The Drowsy Chaperone – is everything the era was known for. There’s a glamorous leading lady. There are showy costumes, big dance numbers and even a dream sequence. Still, the Man in the Chair provides the heart of the show.
“He welcomes us into his home and he wants to delight us by playing a recording of one of his favorite shows,” said Russell Garrett, who directs the production. “He loves sharing this with us. He loves, loves, loves musicals and he loses himself in them.”
Though many have not heard of The Drowsy Chaperone, the show played for more than a year on Broadway. It won Tony awards for Best Book and Best Original Score. Garrett, who saw the Broadway production several times, said he is pleased Viets will play the Man in the Chair.
“I love the fact that the audience will know him,” Garrett said. “Also, he has a sense of humor and he has warmth. I think all of that will help with this role. You need someone you like for this role and Scott is eminently likeable.”
Garrett is a frequent guest artist at Sierra Rep. The last show he directed and choreographed, 2012’s I Love a Piano, was an audience favorite. Sierra Rep favorites Samantha Wynn Greenstone, Greg Hoyt, Sarah Schori, Ty Smith, Tim Stewart and Ashley Whiting also return for the production.
“I think more than anything else the audience is going to laugh,” Garrett said. ““It’s one of the cleverest shows that has been created. It’s truly clever, truly fun.”
The Drowsy Chaperone runs Oct. 16 through Nov. 22 with performances Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at either 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. Tickets range from $28 to $35, with senior and student discounts available. For tickets and information, visit www.sierrarep.org or call the Box Office at 209-532-3120.