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The Drowsy Chaperone

a Musical Comedy
by Bob Martin/Don McKellar/Lisa Lambert/Greg Morrison

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 4232

SHOWING : February 17, 2012 - March 10, 2012



The hilarious show-within-a-show begins when a die-hard musical fan plays his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called “The Drowsy Chaperone” and the show magically bursts to life. Audiences are immersed in the glamorous, hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day, complete with thrills and surprises that take both the cast and the audience soaring into the rafters. Don’t miss the show critics announced as “delightful and sparkling entertainment!” You’ll be over the moon!

Director Barbara Cole Uterhardt
Director Barry N. West
Light Board Op Pamela Cassiday
Choreographer Colleen Gaenssley
Lighting Design Tom Gillespie
Stage Mgr Anna Pages
Costume/Wig Design Tony Smithey
Musical Director Paul A. Tate
Set Design Darrell Wofford
Drums & Percussion L. Gerard Reid
Ensemble Caleigh Allen
Robert Joe Arnotti
Janet Misty Barber
Ensemble Nick Battaglia
Underling Jeffery Brown
George Dale Duncan
Mrs. Tottendale Bobbie Elzey
Gangster #1 Trey Getz
Man in the Chair Charlie Miller
Ensemble Amy Morrow
The Drowsy Chaperone Patty Mosley
Ensemble Jake Mullen
Kitty Amanda Leigh Pickard
Gangster #2 Kirk Harris Seaman
Aldolpho Geoff Uterhardt
Felzig Darrell Wofford
Trix Kristel Wunderlin
Ensemble Dawn Zachariah
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Life's Crazy Labyrinth
by TheatreJock
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Onstage Atlanta has crafted an admirable and enjoyable production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” the 2006 Broadway show which won the Tony Award for best book and score, yet was only moderately successful (closed after 674 performances). “Drowsy” is an homage to classic musical theater of the 1920’s, cleverly written and composed, and very cleverly staged in the mind of a musical theatre buff.

Charlie Miller gives a good performance as “Man in Chair”—the man through whom the audience experiences the 1928 show, “The Drowsy Chaperone”. Mr. Miller has some very funny moments. He does, however, miss some of the richness of Man in Chair’s character—so beautifully written—by discarding a degree of his character’s innocence and naiveté. There’s just a bit too much of a knowing “wink” in his double-entendres (which are never intentional), particularly the gay references. And it’s Man in Chair’s simple innocence that makes his commentary so very funny. We meet him in the dark, only hearing his voice, revealing himself as a “blue”, drab individual with constant “non-specific sadness” who only finds life’s color and glamour through the musical stage. We never even learn his name. Yet when the lights finally reveal him, Mr. Miller’s Man in Chair is draped languidly across a wicker sofa, dressed in a flame-red smoking jacket and ascot—seemingly a directing and costuming call. That said, it’s still a good performance.

Other oddities or missed opportunities from a directing standpoint: In his opening monologue, Man in Chair prays that the actors will stay onstage and not venture into the audience breaking the “fourth wall”—yet Mr. Miller does so twice. Also, the joke involving intermission (or lack of) was pretty much thrown away. There were so many warnings of “no intermission” from theatre staff and the curtain speech-- and then Mr. Miller’s rushed delivery of the “no intermission” segment (instead of leisurely enjoying his granola bar, oblivious to the audience’s growing “itchiness”), that it lost its punch and humor. The high-pitched squeak of one of the Tall Brothers was also a mis-step, as the voice was annoying from the get-go. Maybe the choice was made to make up for the physical miscasting of the Tall Brothers. The characters were originally intended to be vertically challenged, humorously unintimidating gangster hit-men.

The set provided some clever devices and made good use of the odd stage at OSA and, according to the program, was the work of cast member Darrell Wofford who stepped in with a set design at the last minute. Good job. Costumes were beautifully designed and executed, contributing to the sense of fun onstage.

Paul Tate’s musical direction and instrumental group was excellent—although a bit more support and “sparkle” for “I Don’t Want to Show Off” would have been in order. In fact, there were times when the instrumental sound seemed overwhelmed. Choreography was also excellent and, as with the costume design, an important factor to the sense of fun happening onstage.

The cast, as an ensemble, sang beautifully—an obviously talented group. Some of the most enjoyable performances were delivered by supporting cast—particularly Amanda Picard (“Kitty”), Kristel Wunderlin (“Trix”) and Jeffrey Brown (“Underling”). The most disappointing performance was Misty Barber (“Janet—the Original ‘Oops’ Girl”), or rather her delivery of Janet’s signature number. Ms. Barber is obviously a talented, capable performer, but her big number—“I Don’t Want to Show Off”—requires the steady build of a razzle-dazzle, bigger than life performance, and this Janet moved timidly, tentatively and somewhat awkwardly through the number—even with the cartwheel. “I Don’t Want to Show Off?” Mission accomplished. Ms. Barber’s “Bride’s Lament” was much more successful.

In a cast of broadly played, wacky, ultra-theatrical characters, “Beatrice Stockwell” (the chronically tipsy/”drowsy” chaperone) should be, as Man in Chair declares, a “demanding” presence onstage. As played by Patty Mosley, Beatrice was a bit low-key—a case of unfulfilled potential. Not a bad performance, but not a commanding one either.

The mis-steps are not fatal to the overall achievement of OSA’s “Drowsy Chaperone”. Though not a perfect show—it’s a very enjoyable journey through “life’s crazy labyrinth”. Stumble, bumble, fumble…plumble… along to Onstage Atlanta, where Man in Chair’s prayers for “a good play, a good story, a few good songs that will take you away and leave you entertained” are answered. “Isn’t that the point?” Amen.
The Frowsy Chaperoned
by playgoer
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Onstage Atlanta has hit the mark again with "The Drowsy Chaperone." Charlie Miller is cast to a "T" as the Man in Chair, who hosts the evening's intermissionless entertainment. The premise is that he is playing a 1920's original cast recording of "The Drowsy Chaperone." The recording comes to life in his apartment as he plays it.

The set, designed by Darrell Wofford, works extremely well. A couple of pull-down/sliding set elements allow for quick changes, but the kitchen, doors, chair and console record player remain unchanged throughout the action. In some ways, this works better than a bigger production would, in which the apartment would disappear for production numbers. The empty center section of the stage is plenty enough room for the action to play out, even during production numbers.

Directors Barbara Cole Uterhardt and Barry N. West, music director Paul A. Tate, choreographer Colleen Gaenssley, and costume/wig designer Tony Smithey have all done first-rate work. The lighting design of Tom Gillespie has some shadow problems near the edges of the set, but otherwise is quite effective. The design elements work together to give the show a delightful 1920's sheen.

The casting of the show is responsible for much of its success. The broad acting style that is needed to convey the 1920's feel requires great stage presence to pull off. Joe Arnotti (Robert, the groom), Jeffery Brown (Underling), Trey Getz (high-pitched Gangster #1), Amanda Leigh Pickard (Kitty), Googie Uterhardt (Aldolpho), and Darrell Wofford (Feldzeig) have this
quality in spades. The ensemble also nail their roles with great charm and good humor. Dale Duncan's dancing chops as George and Kristel Wunderlin's singing chops as Trix also add tremendously to the production. The only performances I found at all lacking were Bobbie Elzey, who didn't have enough quirky individuality as Mrs. Tottendale, and Misty Barber, who had the ingenue quality of Janet (the bride) down pat, but just couldn't outshine the natural hams in the cast with her signature number ("Show Off"). Ms. Barber's sweetness was a nice counterpoint to the broad artificiality of many of the other performances, so she had won me over by the end of the show.

Audiences will gobble up "The Drowsy Chaperone." It's a fun show, with pleasant music, energetic dancing, great voices and costumes, and sparkling performances. It's a lot lighter a show than some of Onstage Atlanta's recent musical triumphs, but the directors and cast have embraced the lightness, letting a looney conviviality fill the evening. It's a fun two hours of entertainment. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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