The Drowsy Chaperone

The Drowsy Chaperone, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday; $5-$15. Fair Oaks Theatre Festival at the Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre, 7991 California Avenue in Fair Oaks; (916) 966-3683; Through September 8.
Rated 5.0

Short and sweet—that’s how we like our entertainment. And that’s just what this second production of the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival is: two hours, including intermission, and the happiest of happy endings.

The Drowsy Chaperone is both a valentine to and a sharp parody of 1920s Broadway musicals, when anything and everything might get thrown into the plot. Gangsters? Conniving producers? Scheming starlets? No problem.

This is a musical encased in an ingenious narrative framework—a musical that springs to life on stage from the mind of the Man in Chair as he listens to a recording of his favorite show.

Bob Irvin directs this fantastical frolic that boasts perhaps the perfect cast, most arresting stage and prop design, and the crystal-clear sound one always hoped the amphitheater would deliver. Daniel W. Slauson seems born to be the Man, delivering arch asides and pointed commentary on the rambunctious play in his head. Analise Langford-Clark is all charm as Janet Van de Graaff, a Broadway darling who is about to give it all up for love; and Deane Calvin couldn’t be better as the tipsy title character. Other standouts include Brianne Hidden-Wise as the ditsy dowager, Mrs. Tottendale; Joe Hart as her long-suffering butler, Underling; and Corey D. Winfield as Aldolpho, the “Latin lover.”