Burstein, Wolpe, and More Join Cast of The Drowsy Chaperone

A full cast has been assembled for the Broadway-bound musical-within-a-musical The Drowsy Chaperone, which will flounce onto the stage of the Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre from November 10th through December 24th, with its opening night set for November 18th.

Joining the show's previously-announced stars Sutton Foster (Little Women, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Georgia Engel ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show, My One and Only, Hello, Dolly!) and co-creator Bob Martin are Danny Burstein (A Class Act, Titanic) as the Latin lover, Troy Britton Johnson (Will Rogers Follies, Damn Yankees) as the groom, Edward Hibbert (Noises Off, Me and My Girl) as the butler, Eddie Korbich (After the Night and the Music, Wicked) as the best man, Beth Leavel (42nd Street, Show Boat) as the title character, Kecia Lewis-Evans (Once On This Island, Ain't Misbehavin') as the aviatrix, Lenny Wolpe (The Sound of Music, The Baker's Wife at Paper Mill) as the producer, brothers Garth and Jason Kravits (Sly Fox) as gangsters and Jennifer Smith (The Producers) as the ditzy chorine, as well as Angela Pupello, Joey Sorge, and Patrick Wetzel.

A frothy toast to the musicals of the twenties, the show will
be produced by Kevin McCollum (Rent) and Roy Miller. The Drowsy Chaperone will mark the directorial debut of Casey Nicholaw, who choreographed Monty Python's Spamalot.

Foster will play Janet, the bride, while Engel will be seen as Mrs. Tottendale, a ukelele-strumming dowager. In addition, Martin himself will play Man in Chair, whose fondness for 20s musicals transports into the action of his favorite musical--the chipper concoction of the title.
"This pre-Broadway musical is a deliciously silly and affectionate love letter to the great musicals of the gay 1920s — a time when the champagne flowed, the caviar chilled and all the world was a guilty pleasure. This fabled 1928 Gable & Stein musical classic tells the tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to marry. Her producer sets out to sabotage the nuptials or it's curtains for him. Enter the chaperone, the debonair groom, a dizzy chorine, the Latin lover, and a couple of gangsters. Ruses are played. Hi-jinks occur, and the plot spins completely out of control!," according to Ahmanson notes.

The show's origins are unique: the show "began quietly, seven years ago this month, at a stag party for Second City's Bob Martin. He was getting married, and his friends Greg Morrison and Lisa Lambert had written a collection of songs, called The Wedding Gift for his bachelor send-off," according to Variety. Songwriters Morrison and Lambert joined forces with bookwriters Martin and Don McKellar (the film The Red Violin) to craft a show in which the main character is a fan of 20s musicals, including one about a wedding party.

The show, with bride Janet Van de Graaff as one of the producers, was presented some years back at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Mounted there at a budget of $2,000, it took $20,000 for David and Ed Mirvish to produce it at The Passe Muraille and $1 million for its 2001 staging at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto. When Miller arranged for a 45-minute condensation of the show to be presented at New York's National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the show charmed audiences and Miller teamed up with an interested McCollum. The show was to have played the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer, but then-artistic director Michael Richie signed on with LA's Center Theater Group, whose resident theatre is the 2,000-seat Ahmanson.

The show's creative team will include David Gallo (sets), Gregg Barnes (costumes), Ken Billington and Brian Monahan (lighting) and Acme Sound Partners (sound). Orchestrations will be provided by Larry Blank, with dance and incidental music arrangements by Glen Kelly and music direction and vocal arrangements by Phil Reno.

Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling (213) 628-2772 or visiting online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.  

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