Open Up Your Closet: La Cage aux Folles Revival Opens on Broadway April 18
By Andrew Gans
Stage and screen star Kelsey Grammer is Georges opposite the Albin of Olivier Award winner Douglas Hodge in the new Broadway mounting of the critically acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory production of La Cage aux Folles, which officially opens April 18 at the Longacre Theatre following previews that began April 6.
Grammer has said that he will eventually play both leading roles in the production: The five-time Emmy winner will switch to the part of Albin six months after the show opens.
"I fell in love with the original film in 1980," Grammer recently told Playbill. "The fact that they're gay and one dresses as a woman is simply nice window dressing. What it's really about is what every relationship is about — muddling through, behaving badly, just loving each other until the problems get worked out."
Hodge agrees: "On one level it's pure farce. On another, it's fantastically moving. It's about the vicissitudes of love, marriage, parenthood and family values. The fact that it's two men is almost irrelevant. Something happens where it becomes utterly universal. I've spent most of my life looking at women and obsessing about women, and now I'm one of them. I don't believe Zaza thinks of himself as a gay man or a drag queen; no, I'm sure he thinks he's a woman, he thinks he's Audrey Hepburn."
La Cage aux Folles features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the play by Jean Poiret. This "freshly reconceived production" is choreographed by Lynne Page and directed by Terry Johnson.
The cast also boasts Fred Applegate as Dindon; A.J. Shively, a recent University of Michigan graduate, making his Broadway debut as Jean-Michel; Tony nominee Veanne Cox (Company, Caroline, or Change) as Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud; Tony nominee Robin de Jesús (In the Heights) as Jacob; two-time Tony nominee Christine Andreas (My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!, On Your Toes) as Jacqueline; Elena Shaddow (Fiddler on the Roof, Fanny at Encores!) as Anne; Chris Hoch (Beauty and the Beast, Spamalot, Shrek the Musical) as Francis; Heather Lindell (Hairspray) as Colette; Bill Nolte (The Producers, 1776) as Tabarro and David Nathan Perlow (White Noise) as Etienne.
Also starring as "the notorious and dangerous Cagelles" are Nick Adams (A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, Chicago), Nicholas Cunningham (La Cage Aux Folles in the West End), Sean Patrick Doyle (Fiddler on the Roof national tour, Wig Out!), Sean A. Carmon, Terry Lavell (Hairspray in Las Vegas, Smokey Joe's Café national tour) and Logan Keslar (West Side Story in the West End). The production also includes Caitlin Mundth, Christophe Caballero, Todd Lattimore, Dale Hensley and Cheryl Stern.
The revival features four cabaret tables located in the front of the orchestra — two tables of five seats and two tables of four seats. Audience members at those tables, according to the producers, will be "in a position where the notorious and dangerous Cagelles will be even more notorious and a little more dangerous." The cabaret tables, 18 seats total, are on sale at www.telecharge.com/lacage; tickets for the table seating is $251.50.
In the Tony-winning 1983 show, "Georges (Kelsey Grammer) is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club on the French Riviera," according to production notes. "Partnered romantically with his high-strung star performer, Albin (Douglas Hodge), the pair live a charmed life — until Georges' son announces his engagement to the daughter of a conservative right-wing politician who's coming to dinner."
The production features set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Matthew Wright, lighting design by Nick Richings, sound design by Jonathan Deans and wig and makeup design by Richard Mawbey. Orchestrations, vocal arrangements and musical supervision are by Jason Carr; musical director is Todd Ellison.
This new production played from Nov. 23, 2007 to March 8, 2008, at the Menier Chocolate Factory, earning raves and moving to the West End's Playhouse Theatre on Oct. 30, 2008, where it was nominated for seven 2009 Olivier Awards, winning for Best Musical Revival and Best Actor in a Musical for Douglas Hodge. It won the 2009 Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical.
The production is on sale through Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or at www.telecharge.com/lacage.
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