You'll have to work hard to get a ticket, but if you can get in to see The Drowsy Chaperone, produced by Cincinnati Music Theatre at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater, you'll be glad you did. It's a show for anyone who loves musical theater. In fact, it's about a guy who loves musicals.
Lead character "Man in Chair" is feeling a little blue, so he decides to cheer himself by listening to a recording of his favorite show, a 1920s extravaganza called "The Drowsy Chaperone." As he plays his record (of course, it's a disk on a record player) the show comes to life around him, stopping occasionally as he offers commentary about the actors from the original or about the music.
Van Ackerman is playing "Man in Chair." He's a trained actor (degrees in theater from Rollins College and Ohio State), but hasn't been onstage in 18 years. I hope he doesn't wait that long again, because he is a delight to watch. He totally embodies the enthusiasm of "Man in Chair" for this nostalgic material, worshipful and a tad silly production. Ackerman offers a masterful performance, but he's also surrounded by a strong cast, directed by Skip Fenker. There's also a sizable orchestra and a lot of clever choreography. Chaperone is an ambitious show to produce — lots of costumes and a complicated set — and the all-volunteer CMT handles it with panache.
Remaining performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. For tickets and more details, call 513-621-2787or click here.