This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of returning to The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch for their opening night performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone”. This show and most of the original cast is back by popular demand after it’s last run back in 2015.
I have heard people recommend The Drowsy Chaperone, but I didn’t know what to expect other than the description I had read online:
“Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is a loving send-up of the Jazz Age musical, featuring one show-stopping song and dance number after another.
With the houselights down, a man in a chair appears on stage and puts on his favorite record: the cast recording of a fictitious 1928 musical. The recording comes to life and THE DROWSY CHAPERONE begins as the man in the chair looks on. Mix in two lovers on the eve of their wedding, a bumbling best man, a desperate theatre producer, a not-so-bright hostess, two gangsters posing as pastry chefs, a misguided Don Juan and an intoxicated chaperone, and you have the ingredients for an evening of madcap delight.
Hailed by New York Magazine as “The Perfect Broadway Musical,” THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is a masterful meta-musical, poking fun at all the tropes that characterize the musical theatre genre. “
This didn’t prepare me at all for the hilarious and entertaining show I was about to witness. From the second he started to speak, Lon Barrera, reprising his role as Man in Chair felt like an old friend. His interaction with the audience was effortless and set the stage (pardon my pun) for the entire show. His quick wit kept us laughing from beginning to end and his genuine love for the stage warmed our hearts.
The cast is overflowing with talent and chemistry. From the bride and groom played by Janelle Lutz and Tyler Jeffrey Adams to the dingy, vapid Kitty, played by Hilary Evitt Allen, to the gangster “bakers” played by Tim Brawner & Clint Gilbert, there was never a dull moment. I also cannot leave out Elisa Danielle James who played the chaperone. She had us in stitches with every quip and facial expression. I could honestly name every single cast member here because there were so many incredible performances. Even when cast members were not the focus of the scene, they owned their characters. The entire show was a feast for your senses from the gorgeous costumes, to the hair, makeup and set design.
The Firehouse Theatre is a small theatre, boasting only nine rows and a total of 160 seats. It allows you to truly feel like part of the performance. The energy of the audience was palpable and the laughter and applause was extraordinary. It definitely added to the experience! The patrons of The Firehouse Theatre are a tight-knit and very proud group and I loved getting to be part of it.
The Drowsy Chaperone runs Thursdays-Sundays through February 23rd. Tickets range from $24 for students/educators/first responders to $20 for seniors (65+) and $32 for adults. This show is definitely geared towards a more PG or PG-13 audience, so I wouldn’t recommend it for children. (My dear friend Amber joined me for this one.)
If you love musical theatre, or even if you don’t, I promise you will enjoy this show. I am already planning to see it again with my husband. This is truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, both for the actual show itself and for the cast performances. Everyone involved in this production should be so proud of all of the hard work that they put into it. It was absolute perfection.