The Favorite Musical of 'Drowsy's John Scherer Is...?

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In the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, now in previews at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam and continuing through Nov. 25, John Scherer plays an unnamed gentleman of a certain age — simply called “Man in Chair” — who lives alone in his modest apartment. Whenever he gets a little blue, he takes out a certain LP and gets lost in the pleasures of his favorite original Broadway cast album of a fictitious musical from the ’20s.

Scherer has been in his share of musicals both at Goodspeed (By Jeeves, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and George M!) and on Broadway (Sunset Boulevard, LoveMusik). So what was his go-to album when he wanted to escape from it all? Perhaps Cats, Mame and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, all of which he toured?

“I loved listening to Camelot and The Music Man when I was a boy,” says Scherer. He confesses, though — show queens prepare to gasp — that he preferred the film soundtrack to Hello, Dolly! with Barbra Streisand over Carol Channing in the Broadway version.

“I was a real theater nerd as a kid,” the Buffalo native says. “I’d get the vocal selections from the music store and from the library and read all the theater books, like annual Best Plays or Theater World, and just go through the pictures. I didn’t know much pop music growing up.”

And the attraction?

“There is a sense of safety, of escaping into another world — which is what happens in The Drowsy Chaperone where the Man in Chair disappears into the art form.”

Scherer says he disappears into his music now with CDs and downloads. “I’m not obsessed with vinyl recordings like my character is.”

Though he no longer has a turntable, he’s still got the albums.

“It’s nice to know that they’re still there.”