‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ Comes to SUNY Cortland


The musical comedy spoof “The Drowsy Chaperone” will be performed March 25-27 and April 1-3 in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre at SUNY Cortland.

Presented by the Performing Arts Department, the play will be staged at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $16 for the general public, $14 for senior citizens and SUNY staff, and $7 for college and high school students and children. Tickets are on sale at Jodi’s Hallmark Shop on Main Street, Cortland, and at the door prior to each performance.

“The Drowsy Chaperone,” written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, started as a spoof of old musicals written by friends for the wedding of Martin and his wife, Janet. The production debuted in 1998 in Toronto and opened on Broadway in May 2006. The show won the Tony Award for Best Book and Best Score.

An homage to American musicals of the Jazz Age, “The Drowsy Chaperone” examines the effect musicals have on the fans who adore them.

Man in Chair, a mousy, agoraphobic Broadway fanatic seeking to cure his “non-specific sadness,” listens to a recording of a fictional 1928 musical comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He is transported into the musical. The characters appear in his dingy apartment, which is transformed into an impressive Broadway set with painted backdrops and glitzy costumes.

The plot of the show-within-a-show centers on Janet Van De Graaff, a showgirl who plans to give up her career in order to marry an oil tycoon, Robert Martin.

Watching from his armchair, Man in Chair is torn between his desire to absorb every moment of the show as it unfolds and his need to insert his personal footnotes and his extensive-but-trivial knowledge of musical performances and actors, as he frequently brings the audience in and out of the fantasy. More of his personal life is revealed through his musings about the show until, as the record ends, he is left again alone in his apartment, but still with his record of a long-beloved show to turn to whenever he’s blue.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is directed and choreographed by Kevin Halpin, with musical direction by Corinne Aquilina, scenery by Howard Lindh, costumes by Mark Reynolds, sound and lights by Joel Pape, and technical direction by Preston Maryre. 

For more information, visit the Performing Arts Department website or call (607) 753-2811.