The hit show, which recouped its investment, was a Broadway rarity: an original musical not based on source material, penned by Broadway outsiders. Co-librettists Don McKellar and Bob Martin (who won the 2006 Best Book of a Musical Tony for Drowsy) and songwriters Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison (who won the Best Score Tony) are known for their work in Canada's comedy, TV and theatre communities.
Martin — who starred as fussy Man in Chair, also earning a Tony nomination as Best Actor in a Musical — has said he has other theatre projects up his sleeve. Martin became a Broadway theatre community favorite.
The production has its roots in a larky show Martin's pals wrote and performed for him as a wedding gift. It was about a fake Jazz Age show called The Drowsy Chaperone. Wheels turned, light bulbs went off, and Martin and Co. refined the piece and staged it to acclaim in Toronto before American producers (and director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw) helped make it a Broadway baby.
The Drowsy Chaperone spawned a well-reviewed national tour (which continues), a London production that did not last long, and a cast album (as well as a specialty LP record of the album — for collectors) on the Ghostlight Records label.
* Producer Kevin McCollum said Dec. 19, "The show was pure joy and we were a hit. To have had both the artistic and financial success realized is the miracle of The Drowsy Chaperone."
Producer Roy Miller said, "We are grateful to everyone who took a chance on this completely original musical. To begin as a wedding gift 10 years ago and then emerge an award-winning Broadway hit is a tribute to our authors, creative team, cast, and the audiences who embraced The Drowsy Chaperone."
The Drowsy Chaperone received the most 2006 Tony Awards of any musical that season — five in total, including Best Book (Bob Martin and Don McKellar) and Best Score (Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert); seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical; four Outer Critic's Circle Awards including Outstanding Score; and the Drama Prior to Drowsy, Nicholaw was mostly known for choreographing Spamalot.
"To chase his blues away, a modern day musical theatre addict known simply as 'Man in Chair' drops the needle on his favorite cast album — the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone," according to the producers. "From the crackle of his hi-fi, the uproariously funny musical magically bursts to life on stage. We are instantly immersed in the hilarious tale of a glamorous bride and her uproarious wedding day, complete with thrills and surprises that take both the cast (literally) and the audience (metaphorically) soaring into the heavens. Man in Chair's infectious love of The Drowsy Chaperone speaks to anyone who has ever been transported by the theatre."
The Drowsy Chaperone's closing week cast features Bob Saget, Cindy Williams, Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein, Mara Davi, Peter Bartlett, Troy Britton Johnson, Garth Kravits, Jason Kravits, Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (who plays the title role), Kecia Lewis-Evans, Jennifer Smith, Gerry Vichi, Patrick Wetzel, Linda Gabler, Dale Hensley, Joey Sorge, Joanna Young, Jay Douglas, Stacia Fernandez, Mamie Parris and Kilty Reidy.
In the original cast, Sutton Foster played Janet, the young bride; Georgia Engel (who now tours with the show) was dowager Mrs. Tottendale; Edward Hibbert was butler Underling; Eddie Korbich was best man George; Lenny Wolpe was producer Feldzieg.
The Drowsy Chaperone is produced by Kevin McCollum, Roy Miller, Boyett Ostar, Stephanie McClelland, Barbara Freitag and Jill Furman.
The Marquis Theatre is located at 1535 Broadway. For more information visit www.DrowsyChaperone.com.