A winning, wacky love letter to old-school Broadway musicals (and their obsessive fans), The Drowsy Chaperone proved the sleeper of the season in 2006, taking five Tonys and seven Drama Desk awards. In it, Man in Chair, an aging theater buff with a "non-specific depression," casts off the blues by sharing with us a prized possession: the original cast recording from the best night he ever spent in a theater. But, as sometimes happens, the moment the needle drops, that musical takes over, transforming the pensioner's apartment into the set of a fully staged Broadway spectacular, replete with dizzy dames, gangster goons, showbiz impresarios and the odd female aviatrix.
In this North Carolina Theatre production, local hero Beth Leavel reprises the title character she played in the original Broadway production. And the Man in Chair is another local boy made good: Clay Aiken. Should be a hoot. —Byron Woods