Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Drowsy Chaperone: Men in Chairs

On March 14, 2007, I saw The Drowsy Chaperone with my fiancee. And I really liked it. I'm not going to go into the show too much, but if you haven't heard of it (and if you're not into musicals, you probably haven't), here's the basic plot. One day in New York, a guy who's really into musicals (Man in Chair) decides to play his favorite show on LP, and we see the whole thing come to life in his apartment. Since he's listening to a record, the show occassionally "skips" and other things like that, and every now and then he stops to give us trivia about the production.

Now, when I saw the show, my Playbill was missing a little sheet of paper that had the updated cast list, so I was under the impression that I was watching the original cast. So I was very excited to buy the souvenier program, because I really liked the Man in Chair and wanted to have pics of him. The Man in Chair I saw was Jay Douglas, and he had a real nerd-hot look going for him (a type I tend to fall for, as my fiancee can attest), with longish hair and glasses. I was not pleased to open the souvenier program and see Bob Martin, the actual original Man in Chair. He's not cute at all, and has no glasses. I considered writing to the theater and asking for a photo of Jay Douglas as Man in Chair, but I never did. And I bought the souvenir program anyway.

As a fan of musicals almost rival to Man in Chair, I of course had to buy the Limited Edition LP Original Cast Recording, sold only at the theater (the official website sold it, too, but it was already sold out by then). The idea is that the LP is the songs as they appear in the show, since the already released OCR features interruptions by Man in Chair, plus some of the 'skipping.' The LP also came with a CD of the audio, in case you don't actually have a record player (I do, btw). Since I had that CD, I didn't need to get the actual OCR to relive the show. Plus, I knew that my not-so-local library had a copy, so I would just borrow that. It took months for me to finally get a hold of it, though. It took until June, in fact. Anyway, I was interested in hearing what the original Man in Chair sounded like, and once again I was not pleased.

Jay Douglas' Man in Chair was, as I said before, a nerd, but he was sincere, talking to us (the audience) in a friendly, if slightly insecure, tone. Bob Martin, however, comes across as prissy, pissy, and a little nasty. He's the guy who corners you at a party and shoves his opinions down your throat. At least, that's the way I see it.
In short, Jay Douglas' Man in Chair is genuinely nice (and cute!), while Bob Martin's Man in Chair is unpleasant (and not cute). And I'm so glad I could finally get that out.

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