Chamberlain, Moye, Ledbetter Join Drowsy Chaperone Tour; Launch Is Sept. 19
By Kenneth Jones
The troupers joining Bob Martin, Nancy Opel and Georgia Engel in Toronto for the Sept. 19 launch of The Drowsy Chaperone tour have been announced.
The Tony Award-winning musical comedy concerns a reclusive, ardent musical theatre fan named Man in Chair (played by Torontonian Martin, a Tony nominee), who introduces us to his fave show, a 1928 treat called The Drowsy Chaperone. When he plays the scratchy cast album, the musical comes to life around him in his shabby studio apartment. Toronto's Elgin Theatre is the tour's first home, Sept. 19-Oct. 14.
The tour cast will feature Cliff Bemis (Mr. Feldzieg), Broadway Drowsy swing Andrea Chamberlain (as Janet Van De Graaff), former Zazu of The Lion King Robert Dorfman (as Underling), "Mary Tyler Moore Show" legend Georgia Engel (as Mrs. Tottendale), Fran Jaye (as Trix), Irving Berlin's White Christmas veteran Mark Ledbetter (as Robert Martin), Marla Mindelle (as Kitty), Helen Hayes Award nominee James Moye (as Aldolpho), Nancy Opel (as The Drowsy Chaperone), twin brothers Paul Riopelle (as Gangster #1) and Peter Riopelle (as Gangster #2), and Richard Vida (as George).
Rounding out the cast are Kevin Crewell, Taylor Farrell, Tiffany Haas, Alicia Irving, James Patterson, Chuck Rea, Mason Roberts and Jennifer Swiderski.
Martin, who was Tony-nommed for Best Actor in a Musical as Man in Chair, and won Best Book of a Musical (with Don McKellar), will only play the Toronto launch. When the show moves on to Cleveland, Canadian actor Jonathan Crombie will play Man in Chair (as he did briefly on Broadway, after Martin left).
As previously announced, Georgia Engel will reprise her Los Angeles and Broadway role of Mrs. Tottendale for the tour.
After leaving Toronto, The Drowsy Chaperone will travel to more than 30 cities across the United States including Cleveland, St. Louis, Charlotte, Schenectady, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Atlanta, Naples, Orlando, Raleigh, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, St. Paul, Boston, Providence, Greenville, Houston, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, among others.
Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot) directs and choreographs. Music and lyrics are by Tony Award winners Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.
The show also won Tonys for costume design (Gregg Barnes) and scenic design (David Gallo). Beth Leavel snagged the Tony for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.
"Man in Chair's love of The Drowsy Chaperone speaks to anyone who has ever been transported by the theatre," according to the producers.
Visit www.drowsychaperone.com for more information.
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