Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Broward Center: La Cage Aux Folles (2 reviews)

The national tour of La Cage Aux Folles opened at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on June 12, 2012.
Winner of three Tony Awards® including the award for BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL, this hilarious new production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES was the biggest hit of the 2010 Broadway season, leaving audiences in stitches night after night!

LA CAGE tells the story of Georges, the owner of a glitzy nightclub in lovely Saint-Tropez, and his partner Albin, who moonlights as the glamorous chanteuse Zaza. When Georges' son brings his fiancée's conservative parents home to meet the flashy pair, the bonds of family are put to the test as the feather boas fly! LA CAGE is a tuneful and touching tale of one family's struggle to stay together... stay fabulous... and above all else, stay true to themselves!
Terry Johnson directed a cast that included George Hamilton, Christopher Sieber, Dale Hensley, Michael Lowney, Jeigh Madjus, Gay Marshall, Allison Blair McDowell, and Todd Lattimore.

Mary Damiano reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Coinciding with Gay Pride celebrations here in South Florida, La Cage aux Folles, the musical about a charming nightclub owner and his flamboyant partner, has landed at Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale with a likable production containing a don’t-miss performance.
This version of La Cage aux Folles is scaled back, and feels smaller than previous renditions.  The musicians have been raised from the orchestra pit to theater boxes above the stage, a design that brings the audience further into the intimate world of a nightclub. Some of the production numbers by Les Cagelles have a darker edge to them, more Cabaret than classic, colorful La Cage. But it works, largely due to the exceptional performance by Sieber.
Sieber, who was nominated for Tony Awards for playing Lord Farquaad in Shrek: The Musical and Sir Dennis Galahad in Monty Python’s Spamalot, is the heart and soul of the show.  What’s most impressive is that Sieber excels at turning this old chestnut of a role into his own special creation through little nuances and laugh-out-loud bits. La Cage aux Folles is simply more vivid when Sieber is on stage.
Playing a charming nightclub host and master of ceremony is no real stretch for Hamilton, whose affable manner is as ingrained as his electric white smile and bronze perma-tan. And while his acting style is better suited to the screen than the stage, his low-key performance allows his co-star to shine all the more...
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
La Cage aux Folles has been entertaining audiences for almost 40 years, as a play, two movies and a Tony Award-winning musical. The reasons for the story’s enduring popularity are on plentiful display at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts...
With a lovely, moving score by Jerry Herman and witty book by Harvey Fierstein, director Terry Johnson’s grittier scaled-down La Cage delivers all of the musical’s laughs, its flashy cabaret numbers and its poignant story about love, pride and sacrifice. hear Sieber — dressed in glamorous drag as Zaza but singing as the deeply wounded, fierce Albin — perform I Am What I Am is genuinely transcendent theater.

The Broadway veteran is wondrous throughout La Cage, anchoring the show’s humor and touching truths. He is always commanding (even when he’s done up like Marilyn Monroe in The Seven-Year Itch), and his inventive choices in a role so many others have played make him fascinating to watch, start to finish.

Georges is supposed to be different from Albin, a bit more controlled, a lot less dramatic. But Hamilton and Sieber are a mismatch. The movie and TV veteran is a strikingly handsome, smiling, charming presence who doesn’t look 30 years older than Sieber, though he is. His singing voice and dance moves are passable, but the real trouble lies in his too-small, too-subtle acting. Performing in a musical, particularly one as bold and comedically bawdy as La Cage aux Folles, demands bigger, more powerful choices than the ones Hamilton makes.
Quick-thinking cast member Todd Lattimore, done up like a ‘40s Fort Lauderdale pinup girl, does a hilarious pre-show warmup that gets the audience in a happy, receptive mood before the curtain goes up. Sieber and company keep them that way, right through to the sing-along finale. Once again, La Cage aux Folles proves it’s a show with legs. They just happen to belong to talented guys in dresses.
Beau Higgins wrote for BroadwayWorld:
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, with all its makeup and heels, drag queens and Broadway stars, glided into the Broward Center last night and I simply loved it.
This production, as seemingly all productions of this show, gets its primary power from Jerry Herman’s magnificently funny and touching score. Along with the aforementioned Hello, Dolly! and Mame, La Cage is third in the trio of Mr. Herman’s masterpiece Broadway musicals. This production also features the unforgettable performance of Christopher Sieber as the flamboyant drag queen star Albin/Zaza.

Mr. Sieber had us in the palm of his hand about a third of the way through “A Little More Mascara.” He never let go. A larger than life performer, Mr. Sieber is physically big and he used this to great avail in bringing us the funniest Albin we have ever seen.
Mr. Sieber’s life partner is delightfully played by George Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton received warm, loud, and lovely entrance applause... As tanned and great looking as ever, Mr. Hamilton as Georges delivered the performance, we frankly expected. Understated and elegant, with a singing voice, that while not very good, delivered his two big solos well enough...
The national tour of La Cage Aux Folles plays at The Broward Center through June 24, 2012.

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