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TAP Presents The Drowsy Chaperone

Aug 17, 2012 12:15PM ● By Anonymous

"I happened to see it on Broadway four or five years ago," says director Marcia Gilliam. "I was coming back from a visit in Connecticut, on the train coming through the city on a Sunday afternoon and thought 'I've got some time, let me see if there's anything I want to see.'" As fate would have it, that day Gilliam discovered The Drowsy Chaperone. "I fell in love with the show and from then on I wanted to do it." She pitched the idea of the show to TAP, and while it was well-received right away, the show, and Gilliam, would have to wait for the rights to become available and for the Community Center to finish its construction project before the show could be worked into the schedule.

Without further ado, it's here.

According to TAP, the show pays homage to 1920 American musicals. Set in the apartment of a New York City recluse, it features a main character that listens to a recording of a musical comedy and is transported into the musical. "The consequent plot highlights mistaken identities, dream sequences, an unflappable English butler, an absent-minded dowager, gangsters, and millionaires," TAP's website says.

If it's as big of a hit in Oxford as it was on Broadway—where it won five Tony awards in 2006, among other nominations and honors—the audience is in for a treat.

While the script will remain the same, some technicalities will vary.

"Every show has some kind of challenge, and this show has a really major thing that has to happen [we won't tell you here, but perhaps you'll discover it in the audience], so figuring out how we're going to do it technically gets really fun," Marcia says. "There's a line you have to dance around. To me, the whole point of going to see a show is for the show and the actors to demand something of my imagination. Everything doesn't have to be blatantly there on stage, some things we assume are there because you believe that they are. The production makes you take that leap of imagination and visualize and assume things that aren't right in front of you."

This concept is heavily explored with this show's setting. "This show is kind of different from most musicals in that it's a stationary set—[one] set that will be on stage the entire time. Usually with a musical, you end up going many different places and there are huge scene changes. This one isn't like that," says Gilliam. "This is a show about a show. It's in a man's apartment, and he engages the audience in conversation and tells them about his favorite show, The Drowsy Chaperone, and his apartment basically turns into the show as he's imagining it, but you're always looking at his apartment." Sometimes he's talking to the audience about the show or the characters, and sometimes he gets carried away singing and dancing, but, Gilliam says, the main character takes you through the entire show in his apartment.

Her favorite part about the set? Easy. The Murphy Bed. "It's one of those silly things that are so cool!" Gilliam says. That rare aspect of the set should be something fun to watch for.

The show—being a musical about a musical—is fun for all ages. Reminiscent of vaudeville and the 1920s, the show features skit, slapstick, and word-play humor, meant to be light and amusing. "The musical inside the musical doesn't have a very intricate plotline," says Gilliam. It's about a musical star who is leaving the stage to get married, and a producer who doesn't want her to leave. Full of supporters trying to help her and others trying to foil the wedding, it's a show where everyone is trying to undo what everyone else has done, with a lot of song and dance in between. Gangsters disguised as pastry chefs, and a racket of silly humor, with zero controversy. "You can take a six- year-old... and 70- and 80-somethings will like it for the same reason," says Gilliam. "It's a good summer show, nice and fun."

The Drowsy Chaperone opens August 9th and will run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the 26th.