The Drowsy Chaperone at The Dio will Lift you Up (Review)


What do you do when you feel a bit melancholy, bored, needing to escape for a little? If you love getting lost in a book, a selection of music, or resort to food during those moments, make your way to The Dio in Pinckney. Man in Chair knows exactly how you feel and will take you with him on a rollicking madcap ride, including dinner.

The Drowsy Chaperone, with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, is a delight. Dio co-owner Steve DeBruyne serves up the delicious fun, both literally as your waiter and figuratively as a performer/director. This one-act musical comedy takes place in the living room of a solitary man who plays his favorite record album, the fictional musical Drowsy Chaperone, to distract himself from his lonely day. When the record is playing, the musical comes to life on stage as the man watches gleefully from his comfy chair, lifting the record player arm between numbers to speak directly to the audience as he offers up his own very opinionated commentary on the plot, characters and actors themselves. Though The Drowsy Chaperone debuted in Toronto in 1998, it wasn’t until it’s opening on Broadway in 2006, after some revisions, when it received its due praise, winning five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards.

While there are some outstanding performances, the show truly shines as an ensemble work, with each performer giving their character its exaggerated due diligence, beginning with Man In Chair as played by loveable Patrick O’Reilly who sets the tone. Dan Morrison as the theatrical producer/agent Mr. Feldzieg is a stand out as is The Chaperone herself, played by Marlene Inman. I wish there was more to see and hear from characters Underling (played by Dale Dobson as the straight man in the zany lot) and Trix (played by Bryana Hall whose lovely voice was sometimes difficult to hear above the ensemble). I have to say the costumes are a character of their own and deserve their own standing ovation for their genuine period style and detail from glitzy headbands to gartered stockings, thanks to Costume Designer Norma Polk. The set has several clever touches I will not ruin for you by describing. The show was tight and moved at a good pace, including intentional “awkward” pauses.

You will not be disappointed with the menu either. Don’t be fooled by the basic offerings because Chef Jarod’s signature flash-fried chicken is every bit as wonderful as you may have heard and the dessert is simply scrumptious. You can view the menu on their website. Dietary-restrictive patrons have options as well. Call the box office ahead of time for special requests but, by all means, call. Get tickets. You won’t regret it.

Performances run through October 18th. The Dio Theatre, 177 East Main Street, Pinckney, MI. 517-672-6009 or online at

Highly Recommended.

—- Thank you to Patricia Mazzola for the guest review of The Drowsy Chaperone! Please note that this was a review of the final preview performance of The Drowsy Chaperone on Thursday September 3rd.

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