NEWSFLASH: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES’s Return to Broadway

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES

To purchase the Original Broadway Cast Recording of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, click on the image above.

La Cage aux Folles is being revived on Broadway for the second time this decade. The 2004 revival received mixed notices, but managed to pick up the Tony Award for the Best Revival of a Musical (over Pacific Overtures and Sweet Charity, neither of which offered particularly stiff competition) and ran for 6 months before closing in June 2005.

This time around we’re seeing the much acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production, which transferred to the West End. As it did there, the production will star Douglas Hodge as Albin, who will be joined by Kelsey Grammar as Georges after Mandy Patinkin passed over the role in favour of Paradise Found. No complaints in that regard from me. So the buzz is on and here we go with another revival for a show that’s been revived or staged previously in this decade. Except that La Cage aux Folles isn’t half the show that Gypsy is.

Yes, it’s true: I’ve never felt passionately enthusiastic about Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman’s La Cage aux Folles. I’ve always wanted to like the show – perhaps even felt obligated to, sometimes – and certainly I’m a huge fan of George Hearn’s performance of the show’s big theme tune, “I Am What I Am” from the Tony Awards, which always gets me all sad and teary. (This performance is available on the Broadway’s Lost Treasures DVD series, which any musical theatre fan should have in his or her collection.)

SIDE NOTE: Am I the only one who thinks that the largely unnecessary American remake of La Cage Aux Folles (The Birdcage, which starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane) could have been better all around if it had been an adaptation of the stage musical? I guess the late 1990s predated the current movie musical renaissance, but with this cast in place in seems like it would have been an obvious choice at the time. Still, the film received generally favourable reviews and remains one of the top-grossing LGBT films in the USA, so…? Well, it was just a thought.

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6 Responses to NEWSFLASH: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES’s Return to Broadway

  1. Eric HG says:

    I kinda hate this musical – and I want to like it. I swear I do. Still, everything I’ve heard has pointed out that this revival is to be much better than the recent Broadway one, the dancing aside. I have no desire to see Kelsey Grammar in this though. I think I’d actually prefer Mandy Pantinkin, as much as he usually annoys the hell out of me.

    I do like the classic Tony clip – it’s just I’ve seen a few decent productions of the show and it feels so old fashioned to me and not in a good way – for the most part it’s like you can see the creaks in the book and score and how they fit together.

  2. David Fick says:

    Whether or not Kelsey Grammar is right for the role, I don’t think Mandy Patinkin has the control or the self-discipline for the part. The idea of a restrained Pantikin might be appealing, but it’s an impossibility. Still, I suppose casting him would have given me a solid reason to ignore this revival completely. I generally just can’t stand him. I can tolerate him in The Wild Party, Yentl and Sunday in the Park with George (although even that’s a huge strain on my sympathies). And I don’t dislike him in Evita as much as I used to. But that’s it. Nothing more.

  3. Eric HG says:

    What about The Secret Garden? He’s always seemed remarkably controlled and restrained in that (maybe the last time he was, though I grant him that his lack of restraint does work for Burrs in The Wild Party). You’re, of course, right though; at this stage I would never trust him to do a controlled La Cage aux Folles performance. While it’s not an all time favorite performance of mine, and I didn’t miss him when I saw the amazing tour, I quite like him on the cast album.

  4. Brock Cheek says:

    I’m going to see it tomorrow, so I’ll report on my thoughts!

  5. David Fick says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it!

  6. Brock Cheek says:

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This revial of La Cage is a must see. Simply put, a must see. I’ll be honest, I never had much desire to see the show. I think I held a grudge because it beat out Sunday in the Park With George for the Tony all those years ago and I never gave it a chance. But I was on Playbill and clicked on it instead of A Little Night Music, read the plot, and realized that The Birdcage was based on the play La Cage, and I loved that movie. I went to http://www.lacage.com, watched the montage and the video previews, and was amazed.

    The mood was set right away by some very friendly crossdressers greeting the audience members in the line outside the theatre and then eventually walking around the theatre as we awaited the curtain.

    The cast was extrodinary. Kelsey Grammar was an awesome Georges. He has a wonderful voice and really brought alot of warmth to the character. Douglas Hodge was also a wonderful Albin. My only problem with his performance was that at times, he was very difficult to understand between the gay accent and the french one. There were times that I felt that both he had Grammar had funny lines and the audience laughed, but it might have been a bigger laugh if they could have properly understood. I’m sure this will get cleaned up a little throughout the rest of the previews. We met Grammar at the stage door and he was incredibly friendly, signed everyone’s Playbills, took pictures, etc. We would have kept waiting for Hodge, but it had started to rain and having seen the beautiful forecast, we didn’t have umberellas and had 15 blocks to walk to get to our train.

    The rest of the cast was great too. Extra special mention goes to the Cagelles. Wow. Too good to believe. Watch out if you pay the extra money to sit at one of the cabaret tables in the front of the theatre. Just trust me. This is a family friendly website. Also, watch out for any beach balls that might get thrown into the audience by the dancers. A few audience members decided to hit them back at the dancers, causing the Cagelles to continue to kick the balls right back out.

    The entire experience was just an incredibly fun evening at the theatre. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who is just looking for that fun, laugh out loud atmosphere.

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