‘Chaperone’ sets B’way date

Show garnered strong reviews at Ahmanson last fall

In a packed season rife with jockeying for Broadway houses, “The Drowsy Chaperone” won’t be caught napping. The new tuner has jumped in to fill the void recently left by “The Woman in White,” setting a May 1 opening at the Marquis Theater.

Show had a strongly reviewed run at the Ahmanson in L.A. last fall. It comes to Gotham with the same cast and creative team, including star Sutton Foster (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”) and helmer-choreographer Casey Nicholaw (choreographer of “Spamalot”). Capitalization for the tuner is $8 million.

If producers had preferred the 1,100-seat Jacobs Theater — where the struggling “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life” looks to be on its last legs — to the 1,600-seat Marquis, they aren’t letting on.

“The Marquis is not as intimate as another theater we were looking at,” acknowledged producer Kevin McCollum, “but it’s much more intimate than the Hilton, which we were also looking at.” (Earth, Wind & Fire musical “Hot Feet” opens at the 1,800-seat Hilton April 30.)

With music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, the show centers on a tuner devotee (played by Martin) and his love for a frothy (and fictional) 1928 musical comedy, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Foster plays the affianced stage starlet who is the heroine of “Chaperone.”

“Woman in White,” whose closing was announced Friday, exits the Marquis Feb. 19. “Chaperone” goes into rehearsals in early March and begins previews April 3.

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