Thunder vs. Bulls: Five takeaways from OKC's win vs. ChicagoMillwood High School pulls basketball team off court amid COVID 'super-spreader' at Community Christian

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Lyric’s 'Drowsy Chaperone' is anything but drowsy

Capping its summer season with a light-hearted romp with plenty of heart, Lyric’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” runs through Saturday. 

Written by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison (music & lyrics) and Bob Martin and Don McKellar (book), “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a thorough parody of 1920s and ‘30s musicals.  The show pulls no punches in lampooning ditzy showgirls, greedy and sexist producers, hyper-romantic young lovers, sidekicks, efficient and helpful servants, and an almost literal deus ex machina resolution.

For this kind of comedy to really work, everything must line up sharply and intentionally, and that’s the kind of stage work at which Lyric Theatre excels. Directed and choreographed by Lyn Cramer, with an excellent cast, the show is both delightful, and in the end, heartwarming.

Martin Burke essentially carries the show as The Man in the Chair. The entire story of the fictional musical takes place in his New York City loft apartment. No part of the furnishings is immune from incorporation into the story as he plays for the audience his favorite recording of his favorite Broadway show. Burke’s performance was charmingly acerbic as he explored the quirky and asocial personality of someone whose best friends are imaginary. 

The show within a show involves a wedding that threatens the future of a Broadway show and the need to keep the bride and groom apart until the actual wedding — hence the need for a chaperone. The producer of the Broadway show is trying to talk the bride into not retiring, in part because he’s being threatened by two representatives of the gangster who bankrolled his efforts. The hostess is a ditz who is utterly dependent on her butler, and the producer is followed by a starlet who wants a break. And there’s an aviatrix. (Yes, that’s what I said.)

As the title character, Emily Skinner gave a scene-stealing performance, in part because she’s more than capable of stealing scenes, but in this case particularly because it’s written that way. The Chaperone is, according to the Man in the Chair, played by a famous actress who is notorious for this behavior; Skinner makes good on his words in a carefully crafted and over-the-top manner. 

As Janet van de Graaf, the actress retiring from the stage to marry the man of her dreams, Casey Elizabeth Gill gives us a quintessential self-centered ingénue who is perhaps not nearly so ingenuous as she might like us to believe. In her efforts to not be upstaged by the Chaperone, Gill layers the role of “Janet” on top of the actress and lets the two bleed through in a lovely watercolor of theatrical “drama” — the backstage kind — and the comedy works very well. She is ably partnered in Jordan Beall as her fiancé Robert Martin; he’s a little bit self-centered, sexist, and easily led. Beall performs both a dynamic tap number and a dance on roller-skates, and he carries both off with panache — exactly appropriate for the kind of show we are watching come alive.

Two gangsters (it’s a 1920s parody, after all) played by Chad Anderson and Sheridan McMichael are disguised as pastry chefs and have some of the most demanding comic bits in the show. Their very witty lines must be delivered with clarity, and their physical comedy requires precise timing and execution; both Anderson and McMichael were spot-on perfect on all counts. It was a joy to watch them as they threatened the nuptials.

Mandy Jiran as Mrs. Tottendale, hostess for the wedding, was delightfully ditzy, and Eric McNaughton as Underling (that’s what they call him) was the epitome of a fully competent and much too patient butler. Vince Leseny as Feldzeig the producer and Lexie Windsor as Kitty the chorus girl were more true to type than the type would have been. Monte Riegel Wheeler as the seductive Adolpho was thoroughly roguish in exactly the cardboard style of the period, and Anna Uzele as Trix the aviatrix made a great job of her brief but critical role.

Costumes and staging were surprising and perfect — the parody is more than text deep in this production. All in all, Lyric has once again delivered a wonderful evening of charming and thoughtful entertainment.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at the Civic Center Music Hall through Saturday, Aug. 13, with curtain at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, and at 2 p.m. for the Saturday matinee. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (405) 524-9312.

Related Photos
“The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at the Civic Center Music Hall through Saturday, Aug. 13.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at the Civic Center Music Hall through Saturday, Aug. 13.

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - “The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at the Civic Center Music Hall through Saturday, Aug. 13." title="“The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at the Civic Center Music Hall through Saturday, Aug. 13."><figcaption>“The Drowsy Chaperone” plays at the Civic Center Music Hall through Saturday, Aug. 13.</figcaption></figure>