"The Drowsy Chaperone," now on stage at the Pennsylvania
Playhouse, is delightful, charming, cheery and laugh-out-loud funny.
And thanks to director Beth Breiner's excellent direction, fast
paced staging and effective casting, this nostalgic tribute to the
golden days of Broadway musicals is a real theatrical treat.
The play begins with the entrance of Mike Febbo who plays the
narrator, the Man in the Chair, a man hopelessly in love with the
old days. And as Febbo decides to play the record of his favorite
musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone," the show suddenly comes to life in
his apartment. We meet a pampered Broadway starlet, her fiance, her
inebriated Chaperone, her harried producer, the aspiring starlet who
longs to replace her and a flamboyant Latin lover who hopes to
And as the music plays, Febbo also comes alive. He camps it up,
sings his heart out, dances with glee and panache and displays such
a winsome charm that he almost steals the show as he introduces each
scene, critiques each character and gushes about each musical
But as good as he is, and his performance is superb, it would be
impossible to eclipse the over-the-top performance of the rest of
the cast. Chip Rohrbach is at his best as Adolpho. He swirls around
a monstrously oversized red cape and swoons over his own charmsin
the song, "Aldolpho."
Joanne Kelhart as the drowsy but horny chaperone magnificently
holds her own as Rohrbach woos her in a laugh-a-minute caricature of
Real life husband and wife Seth and Kelly-Anne Rohrbach are
delightfully well paired as the vain starlet Janet and her fiance
Robert. Kelly-Anne plays the coquette in her "Show Off" number and
displays an agile physicality as the starlet reluctant to retire
from the spotlight. And Seth's dance number "Cold Feet," with Don
Bound-Black as his stalwart friend George, is one of the most
imaginative and well staged dances I have seen in a long time. Kudos
to choreographer Melissa Keiser.
And then there are the wonderful comical dance duets in "Wedding
Bells" and "Love is Always Lovely" between Jan Kleckner and Gary
Boyer. And Mark Breiner is no shirker as he trips the light
fantastic with Lori Sivick as the dumber than dumb blonde, Kitty.
Mariel Letourneau as Trix the Aviatrix and Don Swan as the grumpy
superintendent have splendid cameos.
To sum it up. Bravo!
Myra Yellin Outwater is a freelance writer.