Extended through January 15, 2011!
Miser’s Night Out Performance:
Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. All tickets $10 for this performance.
Special Hooky Matinee Performance:
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. All tickets $10 for this performance.
Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. (previously announced)
Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 14, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m
The 2006 “musical within a comedy” The Drowsy Chaperone is one of the cleverest, most brilliant homage/send-ups of musical theater to grace a playbill in a long time. Theatre Three’s current production, running through January 15, 2011, is pure performance gold. Under the guidance of seasoned musical theater professional Michael Serrecchia, Theatre Three’s cast of twenty-one sparkles, sings, dishes, dances and dazzles with appealing verve and consummate style. They turn a lonely Broadway musical fan’s apartment (the narrator, Man in Chair, played by Rob McCollum) into a Jazz Era musical theater set, emerging from the depths of his dingy kitchen refrigerator like so many clowns from an overstuffed Volkswagen bug. Jeffrey Schmidt’s fanciful multi-level set design, in crayola-bright colors and cartoon-y shapes, allows Serrecchia’s comprehensive staging to infuse Theatre Three’s cavernous round with a vitality and energy seldom seen at the venue. Delight follows close upon exquisite delight as the Man in Chair wills his personal dream world to life through an LP recording of his favorite show, a fictional 1928 musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone. Never mind the play’s predictable, simple-minded plot, its slightly risqué whimsy and marvelously inventive song and dance numbers inspire spontaneous audience applause and gales of laughter from start to finish. In a holiday season replete with excellent stage entertainment, this is the one to not miss.
The concept for The Drowsy Chaperone emerged in 1997, when the Canadian production team of Don McKellar, Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison honored the stag party of colleague Bob Martin with a raunchy spoof of old musicals. By the time the show appeared at the Toronto Fringe Festival, Martin had become a co-writer, creating Man in Chair as a narrator/commentator for the piece, providing it with a strong through-line. In addition to acclaimed performance in Toronto, New York and London, its productions have thrilled audiences in two national tours, Australia and Japan. Its honors include Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical, Lyrics and Book.
Michael Serrecchia’s production serves the work well and gives Theatre Three’s audience a better cast, better rehearsed, better costumed, more professionally performed evening of live theater than anything else the company has produced all year.
The opening company number gets the audience’s blood pumping; then it gets even better. Jeremy Dumont and Todd Hart as bridegroom Robert and best man George tap dance and sing the hit of the evening, “Cold Feets”. A rollicking, satirical marathon of a song and dance number, it demonstrates in spades how superior performance by two top regional actors with genuine professional direction can command any simple performance space better than a ‘celebrity performer’ with a large back-up ensemble and canned million dollar special effects in any multi-million dollar hall can. An endurance and agility feat on multiple levels, non-stop up and down stairs, with non-stop artistic chutzpah and boldly tapped dance moves, it generated spontaneous cheers and applause and almost earned a well-deserved encore opening night.
Serrecchia creates palpable stage magic from the moment the show opens in complete darkness, setting its whimsical tone simply, with Man in Chair’s voice. As soon as the lights come up, the stage erupts with circus-like color, banter and energy as the entire company hurtles in, pouring forth from Man in Chair’s imagination. Serrecchia masterfully evokes a kaleidoscope of choreographed but natural-seeming stage pictures and moments and characterizations executed in smoothly orchestrated chaos. Every inch of his stage, on all levels, explodes with fine-tuned mayhem and drive. It feels easy and spontaneous, yet all visual and plot aspects tie lovingly together, joyfully following the arc of the play into the depths of one man’s mind like Niagara Falls in living Technicolor.
No let up to the theatrical fun, no disappointing performance.
From Marisa Diotalevi as the tipsy, narcissistic “chaperone” to Arianna Movassagh as exquisitely hapless comic relief Kitty, from Sergio Antonio Garcia and Jason Kennedy as a perfectly matched pair of bumbling, acrobatic gangster/ chefs…to the play’s campy “deus ex machina”, the all white-clad Trix, the Aviatrix played with beneficent queenly glamour by Darius-Anthony Robinson, every character and performance adds a maraschino-topped, real whipped cream layer of pleasure to the production. Happy holidays! Get thee to Theatre Three for seasonal madcap celebratory full immersion.
The superb artistic team supporting Michael Serrecchia and Jeffrey Schmidt includes: Megan Kelly Bates as assistant director/ co-choreographer; Terry Dobson and Vonda Bowling as co-musical directors, pianists and orchestra conductors; Cory Norman as AEA Stage manager; Michael Robinson, Amanda West and Richard Frohlich as costume, lighting and sound designers; Mike McNichols on percussion; Peggy Honea on bass; and Ellen Kaner and Michael Dill on woodwinds.
For info and tickets — 214.871.3300 http://www.theatre3dallas.com/
Linda Harrison photos