<em>The Drowsy Chaperone</em>
Peter Coombs

It’s an open secret among those who know musicals: listening to original cast albums in private can lead to excessive enthusiasm. Symptoms include singing along, dancing, and praising the parts one likes to anyone who will listen. For “the man in the chair,” the anonymous narrator of The Drowsy Chaperone, putting on an old LP of a favorite musical from 1928 releases a private fantasy that later becomes a public reality. As soon as he puts on the record, the show magically begins, but with one catch: Just as vinyl records are vulnerable to certain imperfections—a scratch that makes them stick, for instance—so are the performers onstage. Dust on the needle? No good!

The Drowsy Chaperone, which follows the antics of a zany celebrity on her wedding day, won the most Tony Awards of any musical on Broadway in 2006. On Tuesday, March 16, the touring company of this spectacular send-up will be coming to the Granada for a three-night stand. I spoke recently with Roberto Carrasco, who plays Aldolpho, the show’s over-the-top Latin lover, about what brought him back to Chaperone for a second tour, and about what Santa Barbara can expect from this most witty and fantastical of recent hit musicals. And for tickets and information, call 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.

1] Latin Lover Alert: “My character is a lot of fun,” Carrasco exclaimed. “The play refers to Aldolpho as ‘a self-proclaimed ladies’ man, a silent film star, and a world-class alcoholic.’ I wear a big black pompadour wig with a white stripe down the middle, and people really respond to it.”

2] Every Part Is Funny: “The show works best in spaces like the Granada, where the audience is close and can see the facial expressions onstage easily. Everyone has something funny that they do, and Aldolpho is no exception,” said Carrasco. “He’s a silent film star, so you know he has flaring nostrils.”

3] It’s Not Just for Broadway Musical Lovers: “There are plenty of references to classic Broadway shows for people who get them, but even if you don’t get the references, you will still get the jokes,” he explained. “Obviously it is a great night out for people like the man in the chair—the ones who collect original cast recordings and playbills—but it’s also an ideal show for someone who doesn’t know that much about musicals, because he or she will get to see all the great musical tricks and gimmicks in one night.”


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