'Chaperone' pays homage to old-time Broadway plays

Looking only at the title of "The Drowsy Chaperone," you might wonder: Who is this person, and why is he (or she) so sleepy? Is foul play afoot? Are there unattended children or teenagers somewhere causing shenanigans while this lazy caretaker is dozing on the job?

Luckily, this Tony Award-winning musical has absolutely nothing to do with any of that nonsense. Even luckily-er, you can catch it in Atlanta for one more weekend, with performances from 8 p.m. tonight through 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Fabulous Fox.

Billed as a "musical within a comedy," "Chaperone" serves to skewer all the cliches of Jazz Age stage productions while at the same time celebrating them with a nostalgic wink.

The story is narrated onstage by a character referred to simply as "Man in Chair," a sad-sack fanatic of big Broadway musicals who lets the audience in on his biggest guilty pleasure: an oft-played cast recording of his favorite production, called (you guessed it) "The Drowsy Chaperone."

As our host drops the needle on his well-worn record, the "Chaperone" story begins to play out in his very living room, while he provides color commentary. The story-within-a-story yields every conventional character and cliched conflict in the Broadway playbook, from the seemingly omnipotent British butler and the lustful Latin lothario to spit-takes and cases of mistaken identity.

Fun fact: Danny Tanner himself, foulmouthed comedian Bob Saget, is starring in a limited four-month engagement of the play in Manhattan.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" will begin tonight a 8 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. Tickets range from $21 to $57, depending on seating. For more information, visit www.foxtheatre.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Don't tickle these Elmos

It's sing-along time: "Can you tell me how to get, how to get tickets to this 'Sesame Street' spoof?"

Yes, yes I can.

Seats are on sale Sunday for the witty, irreverent Broadway smash "Avenue Q." The musical begins a weeklong Atlanta engagement at the Fox Theatre March 25-30.

A satire of post-college twentysomething culture filtered through the furry eyes of a Muppet-esque neighborhood on the outskirts of New York City, "Q" features characters such as Rod and Nicky, a gay spin on Bert and Ernie (who, let's face it, had pretty questionable orientation to begin with) and the Trekkie Monster, who prefers Internet porn over cookies.

Marionette mastermind Jim Henson is probably spinning in his grave - from laughing so hard.

"Avenue Q" will be performed March 25-30 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. Ticket prices range from $19 to $55. To order, call 404-817-8700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.