Friday, January 28, 2011

La Cage Aux Folles

La Cage Aux Folles won the Tony Award last year for Best Revival of a Musical, and Douglas Hodge won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical.

Hodge and Kelsey Grammer, the lead roles, are leaving the production on February 13th, so I had to see them before they left, and am I glad I did.

When I opened my Playbill, a piece of paper fell out stating that the role of Hanna would be played by Todd Lattimore. Hey, he's from my hometown of Auburn, NY! I was pretty excited about getting to see him perform, and he was wonderful.

Hanna is one of Les Cagelles, the female impersonators/dancers from the nightclub owned by  Georges (Grammer). Albin (Hodge) is also known as Zaza, the star of the show at the club, and is Georges' long time companion.

If you've seen the movie, The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, you know the story. Georges' son Jean-Michel is marrying the daughter of a conservative politician, and the parents are going to meet. When Jean-Michel's birth mother doesn't show up, Albin dons his female clothes and takes her place. (Which rightly belongs to him, anyway, as he raised Jean-Michel with Georges.)

Hodge is pitch-perfect as Albin, playing the role with the right touch of sass and heart and diva-like behavior. He so deserved the Tony! He is funny, and touching and has the loveliest voice. He is wonderful as Albin and Zaza.

Todd Lattimore got to play the showiest Cagelle role of Hanna. Hanna is a dominatrix, and he knows how to work that whip. He has some funny lines, and Lattimore delivers them with gusto. All of the Cagelles are stunning; muscular, amazing dancers. The song "La Cage Aux Folles", with Les Cagelles dancing in a huge birdcage is so beautifully done, it's breathtaking.

The showstopping song, The Best of Times, sung by the company, is a classic Broadway song. All of the music by Jerry Herman was terrific, just perfect for the show. I just wish the woman sitting behind me didn't feel it necessary to sing the song along with Hodge. And that she didn't talk to her husband the entire show. (How did I end up sitting in the middle of a bus tour group, anyway?) She could have waited until the reprise, when the audience was invited to singalong.

The show is really great, it will make you laugh and believe in love again. If you get the chance to see it before Hodge leaves, you must do it.

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