Drowsy Chaperone — with Paige and Martin — Opens at London's Novello June 6 | Playbill

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News Drowsy Chaperone — with Paige and Martin — Opens at London's Novello June 6 The London production of the The Drowsy Chaperone — starring Elaine Paige in the title role with Bob Martin as Man in Chair — officially opens at the Novello Theatre June 6. Previews began May 14.

Elaine Paige stars in the London production of The Drowsy Chaperone.
Elaine Paige stars in the London production of The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

The award-winning musical also features Summer Strallen as Janet van de Graaff, Anne Rogers as Mrs. Tottendale, Sean Kingsley as George, Nick Holder as Feldzeig, Joseph Alessi as Adolpho, Nickolas Grace as Underling, Selina Chilton as Kitty, Enyonam Gbesmete as Trix, John Partridge as Robert Martin, Adam Stafford as Gangster #1 and Cameron Jack as Gangster #2. The ensemble comprises Nina French, Mark Goldthorp, Paul Iveson and Sherrie Pennington; Christopher Bennett, Vivienne Carlyle, Mark Dickinson and Lincoln Stone are swings.

Casey Nicholaw, who directed and choreographed the Broadway production at the Marquis Theatre, repeats those same duties in London. The original musical comedy has Tony-winning songs by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a Tony-winning book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. The show won five 2006 Tony Awards.

The Drowsy Chaperone set designs are by David Gallo, costume designs are by Gregg Barnes, lighting is by Ken Billington and Brian Monahan, with sound design by Acme Sound Partners, orchestrations by Larry Blank and dance and incidental music arrangements by Glen Kelly.

The Drowsy Chaperone is being produced in the West End by Kevin McCollum, Roy Miller, Boyett Ostar, Stephanie McClelland and Barbara Freitag and Jill Furman.

"To chase his blues away," according to Drowsy Chaperone press notes, "a die-hard musical theatre fan drops the needle on his favourite cast album – the 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. From the crackle of his hi-fi, the outrageously funny musical bursts to life in his living room. What follows is the rip-roaring tale of a pampered starlet determined to give up show business to get married while her ruthless producer is intent on sabotaging the nuptials! Add to this a Latin lover, a debonair groom, an English butler, a pair of gangsters disguised as pastry chefs and a very tipsy chaperone and all manner of mix-ups and mayhem are set to ensue." Elaine Paige was brought to the public's attention when she created her award-winning performance as Eva Peron in Evita in London. She then created the role of Grizabella in the original production of Cats, introducing "Memory." She had a recording hit with "I Know Him So Well," with Barbara Dickson, from Chess. She also starred in London's Anything Goes, The King and I, Piaf and Sunset Boulevard (also on Broadway). In 2004 she performed the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at New York City Opera (and snagged a Drama Desk Award nomination for it). She has recorded 16 solo albums and six cast albums. In 1995, Paige received the Order of the British Empire for services to Musical Theatre.

Paige spoke with Playbill.com during previews for Drowsy, explaining, "It's so wonderful to be part of a comedy where you're onstage at night and just hear an entire audience [of] over 1,000 people just laughing, belly-laughing out loud. It's just so brilliant to hear people laugh like this." About her character, the Drowsy Chaperone, Paige said, "I think she's just a woman who likes too much to drink and has been around the block a few times … She sort of amuses herself with wickedness. I don't think it's really malicious. It's just [that] she's got a wicked sense of humor, and that carries her through life, I think, and that's how she amuses herself. And, she is a grande dame, isn't she, of great achievement in her theatrical career and likes to be thought of in such terms probably? I think you know it's all pretty light-hearted stuff, but it's quite funny because of the way that [Man in Chair] goes on about the fact that she wants a serious dramatic ballad in every show she ever does. Well, it's not far short of the truth in my career actually! I've had many serious ballads in many shows that I've performed in. [Laughs.] So I think it's even funnier for me because there's quite a lot of it that I somehow identify with my career in a sense. I mean, not in a serious way, but it sort of amuses me."

For ticket information call 0870 950 0935.

Summer Strallen (center) and cast of the West End <i>Drowsy Chaperone</i>.
Summer Strallen (center) and cast of the West End Drowsy Chaperone. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

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