Sunday, May 3

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: The Drowsy Chaperone

The Drowsy Chaperone, continuing at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, may seem misleading at first glance. One might imagine the show jumping from the vinyl record (remember those?) onto the stage is the story. It isn't, however.

The true story is the gentleman sitting to the left of the "show" playing out on stage. "Man in the Chair" as he is billed, is portrayed flawlessly by David Schmittou. His wistful, almost pleading, connection with the audience touches the heart. Completely ignoring the fourth wall, Schmittou opens his most prized possession with us: his favorite musical.
As he explains the meaning behind the show, his tenderness and affection for the memories it stirs will stir your own memories of favorite songs, musicals, plays, films and books. The ones which shape your character and which you are so desperate to share with others so that they, too, may be forever uplifted, touched, and changed by it.

Without leaving his chair, well not often, Man in the Chair introduces us to "his" show and its cast. Set in the Jazz Age, a starlet (Laura Douciere) and tycoon (Timothy Ford) are to be wed, if only the stage star can decide whether to return to the life which beckons her or break from the thrill of stardom forever and say, "I do."

A fun romp through a memorable time with pastry chefs who are actually gangsters (Craig Underwood, Sam McKanney) and the up and coming starlet Kitty (Deb Wims). Self-loving Italian playboy Adolpho (Alan M-L Wager) meets his match with the title character, portrayed deliciously by Victoria Weinberg.

Keep your eye on the narrating man in the well worn chair throughout, however, if you are able, as he is the true story and a rather wonderful one at that.

Bottom Line: Check out Beef and Boards' The Drowsy Chaperone for the fun side and remember it for the sentimental side.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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