Michael Florizone (left) plays the character 'Man in Chair' in the Chilliwack Players Guild production of the Drowsy Chaperone.

Michael Florizone (left) plays the character 'Man in Chair' in the Chilliwack Players Guild production of the Drowsy Chaperone.

Drowsy Chaperone to thrill Chilliwack crowds

The Progress caught up with the composer, Lisa Lambert, to ask a few key questions about her role in adding to the magic that has become Drowsy Chaperone.

A full-on musical comedy with dream sequences, mistaken identities and classic spit-takes will keep everyone wide awake at The Drowsy Chaperone.

It opened this week at the Cultural Centre as the first production of the year from the Chilliwack Players’ Guild.

The story and music promise to be exceptional, with the show having earned a Tony award for Best Book and Best Score.

The narration for the piece comes from the modern-day perspective of a musical theatre fanatic, known simply as ‘Man in Chair.’ To chase away the blues, he puts on a record from the 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone, and the characters come to life within the four walls of his apartment.

There’s the unflappable English butler, an absent-minded elder, a ditzy chorus girl, a harried best man, and a tipsy chaperone played in the show-within-a-show by a blowzy Grande Dame of the stage, specializing in rousing anthems who is not above upstaging the occasional co-star.

Last week, we covered the production from the point of view of the Players’ Guild, and this week we interview Drowsy composer Lisa Lambert.

Produced with permission of Music Theatre International, the book was written by Bob Martin and Doug McKellar, with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.

The Chilliwack Progress caught up with the composer, Lisa Lambert, to ask a few key questions about her role in adding to the magic that has become Drowsy Chaperone.

She explained it started out as a spoof, or homage to musicals, and grew exponentially from there. It took the Fringe Festival by storm in Toronto, and then debuted in 1998 at The Rivoli in Toronto. It later opened on Broadway on in the spring of 2006.

Drowsy Chaperone, Tickets $22.50/$25. April 6-9 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 2 p.m., and April 13-16 at 8 p.m., main theatre Chilliwack Cultural Centre, 604-391-SHOW (7469).

Here’s how the rest of the mini Q&A went between The Progress and Lambert:

So what attracted you to this project in the first place?

Back in 1998 I was “best man” at my friends’ Bob Martin and Janet Van De Graaff’s wedding. I decided that for their stag/doe party I’d organize a show. Part of that show was the first performance of The Drowsy Chaperone, a pastiche musical comedy a group of us had been discussing for years. I corralled all our performer buddies and we made it happen. Then we took the show to the Toronto Fringe and it kept growing from there.


How would you describe the era of the music the audience will hear. Is it big band? Or jazz age?

I would say a mix of jazz age and Tin Pan Alley.


What was your inspiration?

Definitely many of the film musicals and comedies of the early 1930s — the Marx Brothers, Fred (Astaire) & Ginger (Rogers), the Maurice Chevalier/Jeanette MacDonald movies — they all influenced the creation of Drowsy. And at a very young age I became obsessed with my mother’s collection of Broadway cast recordings, Guys & Dolls, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story. They all made a huge impression.


Was the story-within-a-story structure a factor in how you approached the music ?

Absolutely! We knew we had Man in Chair to comment on the songs so we were free to be as absurd as we wanted. Man in Chair could put everything into context.



Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read