Nothing dispels the housebound blahs more reliably than a cast album of a topnotch musical comedy.
But even within that sublime category, “The Drowsy Chaperone,’’ featuring the original 2006 Broadway cast, stands out as a surefire joy machine.
The giddy, silly-smart “Drowsy Chaperone'' affectionately spoofs the very genre to which it belongs, bending stock musical-theater characters into hilarious shapes and guises as it tells the tale of Broadway folk blundering their way through a calamitous showbiz wedding.
Structured as a show-within-a-show, it begins with a disconsolate figure identified only as Man in Chair (Bob Martin) listening to a recording of the (fictional) 1928 musical “The Drowsy Chaperone.'' Suddenly, the show and its dozen-plus characters burst to singing, dancing, bickering life in his living room.
One of them is the narcissistic actress and bride-to-be Janet Van De Graaff, played by Sutton Foster, who is having second thoughts about giving up the stage for love — as reluctance delectably captured by Foster in full-throttle performances of “Show Off’’ and “Bride’s Lament.’’
Then there’s the title character (Beth Leavel), who is more interested in boozing it up and belting out the anthem “As We Stumble Along’’ than in fulfilling her chaperone duties; an obtuse and egotistical actor, Aldolpho (Danny Burstein), who fancies himself catnip to the ladies; and Mrs. Tottendale, an endearingly dotty grand dame played by the one and only Georgia Engel. When told that “Romeo and Juliet’’ is a tragedy, Mrs. Tottendale serenely replies: “Oh, I never read reviews.’’
At the end, speaking of the fictional “Drowsy Chaperone’’ in words that apply to the real one, Man in Chair says: “It does what a musical is supposed to do. It takes you to another world. And it gives you a little tune to carry with you in your head for when you’re feeling blue. You know?’’ Yes, I do.