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Boston's Lyric Stage offers a show within a show in "The Drowsy Chaperone"

Boston's Lyric Stage presents "The Drowsy Chaperone"
Boston's Lyric Stage presents "The Drowsy Chaperone" 04:27

BOSTON - Get ready to take a special journey into the mind of "Man in Chair."

In The Lyric Stage Company's new production of "The Drowsy Chaperone," the lead character takes the audience through the cast album of his favorite musical of the same name.

Actor Paul Melendy said, "We at once kind of poke fun at the myriad different genres of musicals there are while also revering them, holding them up and saying, 'Here's what I love about them.'"

The Man in Chair  

His character, a lonely man with few friends, tells the audience he's "feeling a little blue," and says the cure is to play the music from his favorite show.

"So he puts it on and sort of creates the show in his mind. And it comes to life in his small New York apartment. And again, he's never seen it, so all the choreography, that's him, fabricating it," Melendy said.

Funny and heartbreaking

Actors Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia and Maureen Keiller portray characters in the fictional musical and find joy in the chance to be a little over-the-top.

Mancinas-Garcia said, "All the (characters) do is just chew the scenery and compete against each other, so it's a really fun part to play."

While there are a lot of laughs, Melendy explained, "There's a story here, and it creeps up on you throughout. There are little nuggets of information about the Man in Chair that you learn throughout the show, and by the end, it's tender. It's heartbreaking in a way."

"It's interesting because he says it's not a perfect show. (The fictional) Drowsy Chaperone is not a great musical. But it gives him exactly what it is he needs to survive and to have just a thread of happiness in his life," Keiller said. 

And the fact that Melendy's character has never seen the show he loves so much?

Music Director and Conductor Matthew Stern said, "I think it really is evocative for music lovers, for musical theater lovers of the idea of sitting in your car, listening to a cast recording and having the experience of that show coming to life for you - just for you, personally, in that moment."

You can see "The Drowsy Chaperone" at The Lyric Stage Company in Boston through May 12.

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