Last week I worked at the Drowsy Chaperone. There have been some changes since I was last there.
JoAnne Worley has replaced Georgia Engel as Mrs. Tottendale, mother of the bride. It's really great to see her on stage. Do you remember JoAnne Worley? I don't remember her from her stage career, but I do remember her from Laugh- In re-runs. She was the tall brunette witht he big brassy personality and the crazy laugh who sometimes wore boas. I really must have liked her as a kid. After watching her perform in her signature style, I realized that I've been impersonating bits of her act for most my life.
Now that's star power. Her influence on my personality is deeply ingrained. And of course she's a delight. I will say that she doesn't play the part as well as Georgia Engel, but that doesn't mean she's not doing a great job. She brings a lot of energy to the roll and at 70 years of age that's no small feat. Of course she looks fabulous.
Mara Davi has successfully replaced Sutton Foster as Janet Van der Graff, the bride. I didn't think it was possible for someone to fill in because the part is extremely demanding vocally and physically. But Mara Davi is doing great. The last time I saw Mara Davi she was just a few months ago. She played Maggie Winslow in the revival of A Chorus Line. Every day before the show, the actors warm up for the big night ahead. And I remember that Mara had different warmup exercises than the other performers.
She would practice spinning a lasso and twirling a batton. Little did I know that she was getting ready to fill in for Sutton Foster. Both those tricks have been added to the Show Off number. Basically, the Janet Janet Van der Graff character performs a number explaining to her adoring fans how she no longer wishes to be in the spotlight while simultaneously performing amazing feats - like jumping through hoops and doing back flips to name a couple. Great number and Mara is just perfect. I found out that the producers had remembered from her audition and that's how she got the part. I've seen A Chorus Line without her and the show suffers a little for it. She's wonderful.
The other cast changes wouldn't mean anything to anyone except for the families of the people who joined the cast or moved from the chorus - not to say that they're not good, it's just that there roles are secondary to the ones mentioned above.
So, if you're in Drowsy Chaperone now and you happen upon this page, please don't be insulted that I left you out of the above review because you know you're great. You wouldn't be in a Broadway show if you weren't.