Review: ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ at Davis Musical Theatre Company

The Drowsy Chaperone

A.J. Rooney and Hugo Figueroa tap away the chills in “Cold Feets.”

A.J. Rooney and Hugo Figueroa tap away the chills in “Cold Feets.”

Photo courtesy of Dannette Vassar

Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm; Through 1/26; $14-$18; Jean Henderson Performing Arts Center, 607 Pena Drive, Davis, (530) 756-3682,
Rated 4.0

The Drowsy Chaperone was the first “great” Broadway musical of the 21st century, and won five Tony awards in 2006 for best book, best original score and best scenic design. Now, Davis Musical Theatre Company presents its version of the musical within a musical. Kyle Jackson is director, choreographer, and co-musical director with Maya Rogalski.

The main character, Man in Chair, is an agoraphobic theater queen who begins by explaining his feelings about theater, echoing the sentiment of many theater lovers as he listens to a tune and says, “This is it. The moment when the music starts to build and you know you’re only seconds away from being transported.”

He thinks back on his favorite musical, the 1928 version of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and decides to share it with the audience. As the music begins, the stage comes alive with the musical itself, while Man in Chair enjoys it.

Scott Minor is wonderful as Man in Chair, and perhaps at his best when the action is going on elsewhere on stage and he just sits and listens, all of his emotions displayed on his face.

The play within a play features Mary Young as Mrs. Tottendale, an eccentric wealthy widow who is hosting the wedding of the season, in which Broadway starlet Janet (Aimee Rose Santone) is giving up the stage to marry Robert (A.J. Rooney).

Rooney does a show-stopping tap dance number (“Cold Feets”), both alone and with Hugo Figueroa as his best man, George.

DMTC’s cast is outstanding, particularly Brian McCann, over-the-top as Adolpho, the Latin lover hired to lure Janet away from Robert; Joe Alkire as Mrs. Tottendale’s unflappable butler who knows the secret of “ice water” during Prohibition; Andrea Bourquin as Kitty, a ditzy flapper; and Steve Isaacson as Feldzeig, the Broadway impresario trying to save his show by discouraging his star from retiring.

Chris Cay Stewart is the Drowsy Chaperone herself, tasked with watching out for Janet, but more interested in her flask and Adolpho.

This show is a salute to all things comedy, including pun-heavy dialogue by gangsters masquerading as chefs (Tomas Eredia and Anna Cutshall), a spit take scene, a dance sequence on roller skates and a not-at-all politically correct scene alluding to The King and I.

Steve Isaacson has designed a wonderful set, which folds and twists and rolls to make all sorts of scenes. Jean Henderson’s costumes are great fun, particularly the dresses for Kitty, and the gown for Mrs. Tottendale.