From the Olympics to the Phoenix

Fine Arts

- Adrienne Holierhoek

Internationally renowned director and choreographer Jacques Lemay.

New adjunct professor heads up Canadian-born Broadway hit

“Mix ups, mayhem and a gay wedding! Of course the phrase ‘gay wedding’ has a different meaning now… but back then it just meant fun. That’s all this show is—fun!” says the Man in the Chair as he reads the record cover of his favourite musical from 1928, The Drowsy Chaperone. This fictitious musical is the foundation for the real 2006 Broadway hit of the same name, running at the Phoenix Theatre Nov. 8–24, 2018.

Internationally renowned director and choreographer Jacques Lemay agrees that it’s the perfect antidote to the stresses of everyday life. “If you’re wanting to escape reality and have a good belly laugh, this show is the perfect solution for you,” he says. “The Drowsy Chaperone is pure and simple escapism.”

The Drowsy Chaperone is the biggest song-and-dance show the Phoenix has presented in well over a decade: so much so that an entire set of dance shoes were needed for the 19-person cast. “The entire department has been anticipating this production since it was announced last spring,” says Theatre Chair Allana Lindgren. “Jacques has such an impressive history—from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to the opening ceremonies of two Olympics and Commonwealth Games—[so] we know are in good hands.”

The five-time Tony Award-winning musical has been performed everywhere from Broadway to London’s West End, making toes tap and capturing the hearts of musical lovers around the world.

And while the show is based on a fictional musical, the Broadway nostalgia parodied in The Drowsy Chaperone is very real, as theatre historian Anthony Vickery will discuss at the free preshow lecture starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.

Ultimately, the Phoenix production—complete with a custom-built propeller plane—will literally do, as the Man in the Chair says, “what a musical is supposed to do: it takes you to another world.”


In this story

Keywords: theatre, arts

People: Jacques Lemay, Allana Lindgren

Publication: The Ring

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