6/4/2008 3:51PM CST
Superiority of the Drowsy Chaperone tour
by Lawson Taitte
I get kidded sometimes for maintaining that something we see here in Dallas — either a tour or a local production — is often superior to the original Broadway show. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a marked difference, though, as in The Drowsy Chaperone, which the Dallas Summer Musicals opened last night.
In my review, I detailed some of the cast members I think genuinely superior to the Broadway originals. I left out the specifics of the female lead role, Janet, though I praised the current performer, Andrea Chamberlain. But you wouldn’t believe how much better she is than Sutton Foster — who first came to Broadway stardom by winning a Tony Award for the lead in Thoroughly Modern Millie. In that role, and every role since, Ms. Foster has projected a brassy, knowing professionalism that lacks a spark of sincere feeling or charm. The one time I have liked her is in the current Young Frankenstein, which doesn’t need feeling or charm.
It has been very hurtful to Broadway in recent years that producers hire the same people over and over because they believe the performers have a following. Some of those performers just aren’t very good, I’m afraid.