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Reviews bolster 'Drowsy's' Tony chances

May 1, 2006 | 10:44 pm


Now that "The Drowsy Chaperone" has officially opened on Broadway, it's clear that the late-breaking entry courtesy of hit productions in Los Angeles and Toronto will be a major Tony Awards contender when noms are announced on May 16. "Drowsy" got key raves from the Associated Press, the New York Times and Variety. A savage review from the New York Post and an indifferent shrug from USA Today count, yes, but less so in a Broadway season like this one that's desperate to fill out Tony nomination slots after a slew of disappointments and bombs. Here's a sample roundup of some reviews:

ASSOCIATED PRESS: "If you want to get some idea of what it means to be over the moon for musical comedy, pay a visit to Broadway's Marquis Theatre, where a disarming, delightful souffle called 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' is making a strong case for song-and-dance obsession. 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' delivers, not only as sparkling entertainment but, on another level, as a touching tribute to those often lonely folks out there in the dark who cheer on their favorite shows and stars. We haven't seen anything quite this original in a long time."

NEW YORK TIMES: "The gods of timing, who are just as crucial to success in show business as mere talent is, have smiled brightly upon 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' the small and ingratiating musical that opened last night at the big and intimidating Marquis Theater. Though this revved-up spoof of a 1920's song-and-dance frolic, as imagined by an obsessive 21st-century show queen, seems poised to become the sleeper of the Broadway season, it is not any kind of a masterpiece. Without its ingenious narrative framework and two entrancing performances — by Bob Martin as a lonely, musical-loving schlemiel with a hyperactive fantasy life and Sutton Foster as the showgirl heroine of his dreams — 'The Drowsy Chaperone' would feel at best like a festive entree at a high-end suburban dinner theater. But try telling that to the theatergoers who are responding to this hard-working production as if they were withering house plants that, after weeks of neglect, have finally tasted water again. 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' which has songs by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a book by Mr. Martin and Don McKellar, arrives at a moment when Broadway audiences have been battered, bruised and bludgeoned to sleep by blunt instruments of shows like 'Ring of Fire' and 'Lestat.'"

NEW YORK POST: "'The Drowsy Chaperone,' the avowedly new musical that opened last night at the Marquis Theatre — virtually says it all. I understand that this little, horrifyingly pastiche musical started life in someone's living room in Canada. It should have stayed there. It must have been a hoot."

VARIETY: "A witty valentine from musical theater lovers to the frothy tuners of the 1920s, this refreshing cocktail of a show gets the audience on its side in the opening minutes and keeps them there for the duration. Sure, the score, by Second City alumni Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, is pastiche, and purists can quibble about its period authenticity. But like The Producers,' this is superior, smartly crafted pastiche and no less entertaining for being so. What's more remarkable, the show's sufficiently steeped in musical theater lore to tickle aficionados while its charm and laughs never risk shutting out broader auds."

USA TODAY: "In the end, I got little kick from this champagne."

Photo: Sutton Foster wakes up the audience with a rousing performance in "Drowsy Chaperone."
(Marquis Theatre)