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

Details of Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with police taken at special meeting on Wednesday

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read