Thursday, July 26, 2007

Putting London's Drowsy Chaperone To Bed

Putting London's Drowsy Chaperone To Bed

As noted in my previous post, the West End production of The Drowsy Chaperone will close next weekend (August 4) -- just shy of two months after opening to lackluster reviews.

The big question is why? Certainly, reviews weren't that bad, and plenty of other imports from North America have fared well in spite of the inherent anti-Broadway bias of many London critics.

My own theory is two-fold.

First, take a look at the marketing campaign (above) and you'll see that British theatrical legend Elaine Paige is proclaimed as the star. Imagine the word of mouth that spread regarding how disingenuous that campaign truly is. While Paige is indeed in the title role, she is a supporting player. Huge difference.

Second, the real star of the show on opening night was the musical's creator Bob Martin as the Man in Chair. But Martin already departed the show earlier this month to prepare for the first leg of The Drowsy Chaperone's North American tour in his hometown of Toronto, where the original Fringe Festival favorite world premiered.

If seething Paige fans could get beyond the fact that their beloved star was in a supporting role to enjoy Martin's utterly enjoyable performance, all positive buzz about him came to a crashing end when he left.

It's a shame that there wasn't more truth in advertising for this curious delight of a show. It deserved better.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for London tickets.
Click here for Broadway tickets.
Click here for North American tour tickets.
Related Stories:
Go East, Young Musical, Go East (July 27, 2007)
Did Chaperone Keep London's Aging Critics Awake? (June 19, 2007)
West End Drowsy Chaperone: Another Great Paige Turner (January 19, 2007)
The Drowsy Chaperone (The SOB Review) (October 3, 2006)
Mixed Reviews Tire The Drowsy Chaperone (May 2, 2006)

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