Bob Martin Will Take a Chair in Drowsy Tour in Toronto

News   Bob Martin Will Take a Chair in Drowsy Tour in Toronto
 
Actor-writer Bob Martin confirmed one of commercial theatre's worst-kept recent secrets: He'll star as Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone in his Toronto hometown this fall, when the musical launches its North American tour.

Tony winner Bob Martin will bid farewell to his Broadway chair.
Tony winner Bob Martin will bid farewell to his Broadway chair. Photo by Joan Marcus

He told the Toronto Star that he'll return to the show in its touring version (it bows at Toronto's Elgin Theatre Sept. 19) following his 2006 Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Musical and his Tony win for Best Book of a Musical.

Martin helped develop Drowsy in Toronto in the late 1990s. It began as a scrappy wedding-gift lark by his pals in the local theatre and comedy community. Martin, co-librettist Don McKellar and songwriters Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison further developed the piece (adding the central character, Man in Chair), and the show was a hit in several venues in Toronto.

Before long, American producers Kevin McCollum and Roy Miller swooped in — engaging an American creative team — and aimed it for Broadway. With Martin, Canadians McKellar, Morrison and Lambert all won Tonys for their writing, too.

Martin starred as the musical's narrator and guide in a 2005-06 Los Angeles tryout, the 2006 Broadway run, and the current 2007 London run at the Novello. He exits the well-reviewed London staging in early July to be replaced by Steve Pemberton.

Martin's wife, Janet Van De Graaff, is due to give birth in mid-July, the actor told the Star. His London appearance will last less than two months. The Drowsy Chaperone is part of Dancap Productions' first subscription season in Toronto.

Martin enthused to the Star, "Can you believe how wonderfully this has all worked out? I'll be back home, I'll be with Janet and the baby, and I'll be performing our show at the Elgin Theatre. I can't tell you how thrilling it is."

No casting for the national tour of Drowsy has been announced, and it's not yet clear if Martin will appear in the show after it exits Toronto.

The Broadway staging of The Drowsy Chaperone, directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Casey Nicholaw, continues at the Marquis Theatre.

The daffy musical comedy concerns a hermetic musical theatre fetishist who plays his favorite obscure cast album for the audience, explaining its plot and production history. In his studio apartment, the fizzy 1920s musical The Drowsy Chaperone comes to life.

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