Players Pen – August 8, 2018

The bubbly, funny and lively musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” opened last week and continues to have audiences of all ages roaring with laughter.  The fun beings when the main character starts to play his rare double-album recording of his favorite musical.  Greg Vinkler, as Man in Chair, narrates the story of the musical coming to life in his apartment and he takes the audience behind the scenes, tossing out tidbits as well as backstories of the fictional performers. 

What he does not share is the actual inspiration for the musical.  The fictional bridal couple, Robert Martin and Janet van de Graff, are real actors who got married in 1997 and on the eve of their wedding, their friends created a spoof of old musicals.  Martin joined the other creators, Second City alumni Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison along with Don McKellar, to revive the show for the Toronto Fringe Festival and created the role of “Man in Chair.”

The Drowsy Chaperone” opened on Broadway on May 1, 2006. The musical was nominated for multiple Broadway (2006) and London (2008) theater awards, winning five Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards.  On Valentine’s Day 2007, a limited edition, 1,000-pressing vinyl record version was released, available only on the Ghostlight Records website and in the lobby of the Marquis Theater. This edition, which included only the musical numbers, along with extra specially recorded dialogue, was meant to re-create the album listened to by the Man in Chair.

Not only has the cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” earned standing ovations from our audiences, they have earned tears of laughter. 

Laughter is very infectious and it is a delight to hear the variety of merriment that rings throughout the house each evening.  There are chuckles, snorts, guffaws, cackles, belly laughs, snickers, giggles, whoops and actual tears of joy.  

Laughter is good for your health.  Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.

“I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off,” says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and laugh therapist on Web Md. “They might be healthier too.” encourages laughter for overall health benefits: 

Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

“Laughter triggers endorphin activation,” said Dr. Robin Dunbar in a 2011 New York Times article.   Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories. Research conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories— with a two-act play, that could be more than 300 calories!

Laughter keeps couples close.  Researcher Jeffrey Hall from the University of Kansas analyzed the findings of 39 studies looking at 15,000 participants over the last 30 years to find out more about the importance of humor in a relationship.  “If you share a sense of what’s funny, it affirms you and affirms your relationship through laughter,” explained Hall in the Huffington Post in 2017.

Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.

Laughter may even help you to live longer. In 2016, Scientific America reported that a 15-year Norwegian study found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who laugh less. The team assessed the cognitive, social and affective components of humor using a validated questionnaire.  

Laughter brings people together.  Comedian Victor Borge said: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”   Researcher Robert Provine, a neurobiologist who studies laughter and author of “Laughter:  A Scientific Investigation,” found that it is up to 30 times easier to laugh in a group than on your own.

Boost your overall health, enjoy a date night with your significant other or bond with family and friends and join us for a performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone” or “Living on Love.” Both are hilarious comedies. Visit our website to learn more or call the Box Office at (920) 868-3287.  We hope you will join us by the bay, where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine!