REVIEW: The Drowsy Chaperone

If you have yet to see a show done by University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, & Dance, I highly recommend you start by seeing this show.  The seats weren’t completely full but by the laughter that filled the room, one would think it was oversold.

Cast of The Drowsy Chaperone-Press Release Photo

The show begins in the dark with a monologue from the star of the show, Man in Chair (Alexander Sherwin).  He describes what it’s like waiting for a show to start and he captures it spot on.  The Man in Chair puts in his favorite record, The Drowsy Chaperone, and the show comes to life onstage.

Janet Van de Graaff (Hannah Lynne Miller) and Robert Martin (Kyle McClellan)-Press Release Photo

The big opening number, Fancy Dress, drew the crowd in immediately.  All of the characters are introduced and you fall in love with them right away.  Mrs. Tottendale (Isabel Stein) is the sweet, confused hostess who can’t seem to remember that everyone is there for a wedding.  Her spit-take with her employee, Underling (Aidan Ziegler-Hansen), is priceless.  Robert Martin (Kyle McClellan), the dashing groom has a high-energy, fun tap number called “Cold Feets” with his frazzled best man George (Christopher Campbell), which was personally one of my favorite numbers!  Broadway producer Feldzeig (Riley McFarland) will do anything to stop the wedding from happening so he won’t lose his leading lady Janet Van de Graaff.  Kitty (Jo Ellen Pellman) is a ditzy wanna-be-star constantly trying to convince Feldzeig that she’s fit for the role of the leading lady.  Gangster #1 (Joseph Sammour) and Gangster #2 (Simon Longnight) stole the show every time they were onstage!  Both disguised as pastry chefs for the wedding, the gangsters were hilarious as they made pastry puns and starred in the exciting number of “Toledo Surprise”.  Adolpho (Charlie Patterson) was another audience favorite.  As a Latin “lover of ladies”, he was put on a mission by Feldzeig to seduce the bride, but amidst the chaos, ends up seducing the wrong lady.  Bride Janet Van de Graff (Hannah Lynne Miller) can’t seem to give up the spotlight, as we see her “Show Off” in her large number, doing cartwheels, high kicks, and smiling for any camera around.  Miller played a stunning leading lady.  The Drowsy Chaperone (Nkeki Obi-Melekwe) killed it in her song titled “As We Stumble Along”.  The chaperone is supposed to be making sure that Janet Van de Graaff doesn’t see Robert Martin on their wedding day, but always seems to be stumbling around with a drink in her hand.  She hits every comedic line perfectly and wows the audience in any and every song she sings.  Definitely another audience favorite.  Trix (Cydney Clark), the aviatrix, also has a stunning voice as she sings “I Do, I Do in the Sky”.  The Superintendent (Griffin Binnicker) makes an appearance at the end of the show.  He may have few lines, but he definitely makes the most of them!  And finally, you can’t forget about the ensemble (Spencer Crow, Audrey Kennedy, Carina Kay Louchiey, Christopher Washington)!  Their dancing was phenomenal and they seemed to have such a fun time onstage!  Whether they were news reporters, maids, or a plane, they helped make the show complete.

The Drowsy Chaperone (Nkeki Obi-Melekwe)-Press Release Photo
The Drowsy Chaperone (Nkeki Obi-Melekwe)-Press Release Photo

There were many people in the show within the show, but the Man in Chair was the true star.  He deserves a huge pat on the back for this role.  It must not have been easy to memorize the pages of lines, and to make sure he is continuously connecting with the audience.  A job well done on Sherwin’s part.

Man in Chair (Alexander Sherwin)-Press Release Photo
Man in Chair (Alexander Sherwin)-Press Release Photo

The music, choreography, and acting was simply spectacular.  As the Man in Chair says “Musicals take you into another world; they help you escape the dreary horrors of the real world.”  And that is exactly what this show did.  Whether you are an actor, a theatregoer, or someone who has never seen a show, I promise that you will form some sort of connection with this musical.  I highly recommend seeing this once, if not more.

Tickets are on sale online at, or you can get them at the door.  $12 for students with a valid ID and $22-$28 for others.  The show runs October 13-16 and October 20-23.  Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2pm.


A senior studying Psychology at U of M ~ “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

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