BWW Reviews: Pantages Theatre Becomes LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

July 13
8:29 PM 2012

BWW Reviews: Pantages Theatre Becomes LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

La Cage Aux Folles/book by Harvey Fierstein/music by Jerry Herman/directed by Terry Johnson/Pantages Theatre/through July 22

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!

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Don Grigware Don Grigware is an Ovation nominated actor and writer whose contributions to theatre through the years have included 6 years as theatre editor of NoHoLA, a contributor to LA Stage Magazine and currently on his own website:

Don hails from Holyoke, Massachusetts and holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Education and Bilingual Studies. He is a teacher of foreign language and ESL.

Don is in his seventh year with BWW, currently serving as Senior Editor of the Los Angeles Page. He received a BWW Award for Excellence in 2014 as one of the top ten Regional Editors across the globe.

Don is also an author/playwright and recently published Books I, II & III of his children's fable Two Worlds Together: Donnelly's Greatest Christmas. You may purchase copies of the two volumes at Two one-acts in a collection called Holiday Madness were just published, also on Both the story and plays are available on kindle as well as in paperback.

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