BWW Reviews: Pantages Theatre Becomes LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
Outrageous in design and color, choreography verging on the acrobatic, spectacle, great singing, offbeat, risque humor and miles of heart are certainly enough attributes to call La Cage Aux Folles top-notch. The latest version, which won a Tony for Best Revival in 2010, is much scaled down from the original with only 6 Cagelles, an arched set center stage which. simply adorned serves every locale, and a small orchestra in two boxes, left and right, above the action. It all looks and works divinely, and with charming George Hamilton as Georges, boldly affable Christopher Sieber as Albin/Zsa Zsa and 6 dynamic dancers, how can you lose? It's a huge hit, now docked at the Pantages for two weeks only, through July 22.
A fan of the original in 1983, I adored George Hearn and Gene Barry and their quiet chemistry together. Sparks must fly between Georges and Albin, or what's the point in showing a 20 year gay relationship that has surely survived the test of time? It's rocky at best, but so is any marriage worth saving. What Georges and Albin do for gay people is give them hope for the future. Hamilton has such a zest for living. When he smiles, it seems to come from deep within; it's his glow, if you will, that it utterly captivating. You can't help but enjoy his very presence as Georges. Sieber as Albin is big, brassy, unashamed of who he is, unafraid to stand up for what is right. When the two sing "Song on the Sand", though their styles are different, they indeed make harmonious music.
Also fabulous in the ensemble are Michael Lowney as Jean-Michel, Allsion Blair McDowell as Anne, Cathy Newman and Bernard Burak Sheredy as the Dindons, Gay Marshall as Jacqueline and Jeigh Madjus as Jacob. And Brava to Les Cagelles: Matt Anctil, Logan Keslar, Donald C. Shorter, Jr., Mark Roland, Terry Lavell and Trevor Downey. Lynne Page gives great choreography and Terry Johnson's fast-paced direction and fluid staging are terrifically smooth throughout. I loved some of the new acts/gimmicks especially Zsa Zsa as Marilyn Monroe from "The Seven Year Itch" with fan blowing from beneath - ooh, la, la! - the beach ball tossing in the audience and the birdcage in Act II with the Cagelles suspended inside.
Great show, performances and singable tunes from Jerry Herman - one of his best scores! La Cage Aux Folles - that's Birds of a Feather, so go on down and flock together!