- Published on Thursday, 14 June 2012 10:20
- Written by Martin D Goodkin
There was a revival presented by the British company at The Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre in 2008 of “La Cage Aux Folles” which was brought to Broadway in 2010. The touring company of that production opened on Tuesday evening at the Broward Performing Arts Center of a much loved musical and Christopher Sieber makes this a MUST SEE production..
The story is about love in its many forms, starting with Georges and Albin who have been together for many years and have raised a child, Jean-Michel, who is now engaged to Anne, the daughter of very conservative parents with her father being head of the Tradition, Family and Morality Party. Jean-Michel invites Anne and her parents to dinner and asks his father Georges that Albin, who is very effeminate, not to appear. Albin, who has raised the boy as his own, the boy’s real mother, Sybil, having very little to do with the child, is hurt and even more so when the mother is invited instead. Albin decides to come to the party as Jean-Michel’s mother when a telegram arrives saying that Sybil can’t make it. Act 2 starts as a wild farce that eventually turns everything and everyone upside down showing what love really is and means.
Georges and Albin live in an apartment in St. Tropez above the nightclub that specializes in drag shows with Albin as ZaZa the star of the show and a chorus of drag queens called La Cagelles. The musical opens with the La Cagelles putting on a show, singing and dancing to “We Are Who We Are” introducing themselves to the audience and then we see the transformation of Albin to ZaZa as he sings, “(A Little More) Mascara”).
Jerry Herman writes what he likes to call “Broadway Show Tunes” and like he did in “Mame” and “Hello Dolly” the score for “La Cage Aux Folles” are full of those tunes. There are love tunes such as Jean-Michel to Anne, “With Anne On My Arm” which is then reprised as “With You On My Arm” sung to Albin by Georges, not to forget the love song that Georges sings to Albin, “Song On The Sand” that moves many people in the audience. In the second act Georges sings to Jean-Michel , “Look Over There” explaining to the latter that no mother could have loved him more than Albin did and does. Mr. Herman has his ‘get the audience moving’ with the title tune and “The Best of Times” and finally gives them the chance to clap, sing and whistle the song along with the cast.
And then there is, “I Am Who I Am” and Christopher Sieber playing Albin/ZaZa. One of the most memorable numbers I have ever experienced in the theatre was when I saw George Hearn sing “I Am Who I Am” in October 1983 in the original production but Mr. Sieber takes the song, and all the songs, and makes them his own, erasing the memory of anyone else who has played the role and proclaimed, “I Am Who I Am”!
The cast including George Hamilton playing Georges, Michael Lowney as Jean-Michel, Allison Blair McDowell as Anne, with Bernard Burak Sheredy and Cathy Newman as her parents plus Gay Marshall as Jacqueline plus the rest cast all do excellent jobs.
“La Cage Aux Folles” wouldn’t be what it is without Les Cagelles: Matt Anctil, Logan Keslar, Donald Shorter, Jr., Mark Roland, Terry Lavell and Trevor Downey and these guys fill the bill though I must confess I miss the larger casts of La Cagelles and guessing which were the females. There is no need to guess here.
Thank you Jerry Herman, Harvey Fierstein, choreographer Lynne Page, director Terry Johnson, the rest of the production artists and, once again, Christopher Sieber for giving South Florida the best show of the 2011-2012 season.
Act 1 1 hour and 15 minutes Intermission 20 minutes Act 2 1 hour and 5 minutes Total 2 hours and 40 minutes