LA CAGE BLOG: Full Steam Ahead!
Get out your leg warmers, ladies. We've got a case of the 'uncommon' cold.
Did anyone else wake up last Monday, part the damp air and squeeze out a tiny "What the hell?" Just when you think Spring is in bloom, Winter comes in with a snatched back high pony and battement, screaming, "I.... GOTCHA! (Uh huh huh)." So I grabbed my venti and boarded a mini-bus to Yonkers (yes, you read that correctly), where our gaggle of lady birds had rehearsal on a giant welded birdcage that wouldn't fit into the elevator of our rehearsal space. The scene shop was located near a shipyard and you should have seen the looks on those locals faces when a clown car full of trannies pulled up! The newly orchestrated "Birds" segment that opens the famously exhausting title number, is my favorite choreographic moment in the show. The juxtaposition between posh/polished and seedy/sexual is brilliantly realized by choreographer Lynne Page. The drive up was a bit depressing, with grey clouds casting ominous shadows over the Bronx. We entertained ourselves by riffing out tunes about the broke-down strip mall at W. 258 into Nick Adams' ipod... if you have an iPhone, treat yourself to hours of enjoyment by downloading LaDiDa! I think the Cagelles are going to go gold with this first album!
With the cold front came... head colds, and the like. Numerous visits were made to the ENT, by myself and others. Oh, pharyngitis, what a joy you are! Even if your vocal folds remain in pristine shape, they are guilty by association, since everything around them is the color of our fuschia show art! To combat the cold that has been passed around like it's table salt, I've been pounding back fluids and downing Wellness Formula (and handing them out like it's Studio 54). Veanne Cox and I were seen staring down each others throats obsessively checking for white spots. And... for a brief moment, our producers thought we were trying to stage a production of 'Bye Bye Birdie,' as injuries plagued the Cagelle nest like darts shooting through our feathered wings. Subluxations, bursitis, tendonitis, oh my! But good, it seems, inevitably comes from bad! We've now been blessed with the short term addition of the leggy Sean Carmon!
Just when we were feeling that usual fourth-week sort of broke-down busted, the coarse laugh of Mama Fierstein was again heard at the back of the room. He was there to watch our fourth run through, and give a final stamp of approval on text modifications. As a company, we rose to the occasion! It was so satisfying and validating to see Fierstein double over with laughter and swell up with emotion as he watched the very words he penned! I think we must have done something right to turn the writer into just another engaged and happy audience member. He went home and proclaimed to all of Facebook, "I was simply blown away by the run-thru I saw today of 'La Cage Aux Folles.' I don't want to 'tempt the evil eye,' but man what I saw was some great theater. The intelligence, talent, sophistication, and heart that have gone into this new production is mind blowing. I am so very proud to have the show seen this way. I can't wait to now see it with costumes and the rest. xoxox to all involved."
And the excitement continued, with a trip to the Longacre to work on the finale staircase! Our set is gorgeous, and completely congruous with Terry Johnson's vision for the show. Yes, there's the glittery proscenium... but the floorboards are weathered and the awning of Renaud's cafe is appropriately tea stained. Continuity! We ended the week with the long-awaited sitzprobe, where we got to sing through the score with our orchestra for the first time! Jason Carr's new orchestrations are so powerful, whimsical, and exhilarating (with new, sassy riffs from the trumpet and low, humorous bongs from the drummer!), I sang through the opening number with my hairs standing on their ends!
At the close of this tremendously exciting two hours, producer Sonia Friedman thanked us and remarked that out of the many, many companies she has seen through the years, "You are the happiest bunch... and it comes from the top down." Glancing over at Kelsey and Doug goofing with each other in the corner, I couldn't agree more. Leaving ego at the door, we're here for the work and we're so excited about sharing this vision for the show with an audience! She concluded her speech with a plea to stay healthy, fight off our colds, and "Don't have a night on the piss." (Cue confused looks from the Americans). Through the laughter and applause, you could hear the faint toot of noses blowing, and after a champagne toast, we parted ways... to go home and hook up the echinacea IVs and personal Vicks inhalers. Full "steam" ahead... tech week awaits!