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The Menier Chocolate Factory's "La Cage Aux Folles" at the Longacre Theatre
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The Menier Chocolate Factory's "La Cage Aux Folles" at the Longacre Theatre

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La Cage Aux Folles
(La Cage Aux Folles Website)

The Menier Chocolate Factory Production

Longacre Theatre
220 West 48th Street

Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge

Music & Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book by Harvey Fierstein
(Based on the play “La Cage Aux Folles” by Jean Poiret)

Starring Fred Applegate, Veanne Cox, Chris Hoch,
Elena Shadow, AJ Shively
Christine Andreas, Robin De Jesus
Dale Hensley, Heather Lindell, Caitlin Mundth,
Bill Nolte, David Nathan Perlow, Cheryl Stern

And Featuring the Cagelles – Actors/Singers/Dancers

Directed by Terry Johnson
Choreographed by Lynne Page
Music Supervision, Orchestrations,
Dance Arrangements: Jason Carr
Scenic Design: Tim Shortall
Costume Design: Matthew Wright
Lighting Design: Nick Richings
Sound Design: Jonathan Deans
Wig & Makeup Design: Richard Mawbey
Asst. Choreographer: Nicholas Cunningham
Technical Supervisors:
Arthur Siccardi & Patrick Sullivan
Production Stage Manager: Kristen Harris
Music Director: Todd Ellison
Musical Coordinator: John Miller
Casting: Duncan Stewart
Press: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Advertising: SPOTCO
General Manager: BJ Holt
Executive Producer: Alecia Parker

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 20, 2010

Five minutes into the Menier Chocolate Factory’s new production of La Cage Aux Folles, memorable music will be swirling in your mind, and your mood will be buoyant. Everything about this Broadway blockbuster draws you in, even, literally, Les Cagelles, standing outside the Longacre Theatre in wigs, boas, and heels, beckoning with very masculine voices. Kelsey Grammer, of TV sitcom fame, and Douglas Hodge, a director and actor of the Pinter genre, are splendid as Georges and Albin, the proprietor of La Cage Aux Folles Nightclub, on the French Riviera, and Georges’ life partner-lover-star attraction, aka Zaza. Mr. Grammer sings with natural, unassuming charm (“Song on the Sand”, “Look Over There”), and Mr. Hodge sings the Act One finale, “I Am What I Am”, in such a way that not one eye in the house is dry. Georges’ suaveness and faux macho are balanced by Albin’s overwrought vulnerability.

Jean Poiret’s original plot concerns Jean-Michel (A.J. Shively), Georges’ biological son, conceived with a chorus girl, twenty some-odd years ago, and raised by Albin as well, who was “mother” by day and Zaza by night. Jean-Michel is engaged to Anne (Elena Shaddow), daughter of a renowned conservative in high political office, the blustery M. Dindon (Fred Applegate), and his wife Mme. Dindon (Veanne Cox), a lady with some hidden passion. Jean-Michel wants Albin to disappear and his “real” mother to surface, just for this one needed cameo. The requisite “in-law” meeting is set at Chez Jacqueline Restaurant, adjoining La Cage, and its vivacious, namesake proprietor, played by Christine Andreas, engineers a smooth, sumptuous feast, replete with impromptu song and dance, that ensures marital blessings all around. “The Best of Times” brings down the house, as the Dindons kick up their heels and join in the boisterous celebration.

The most astounding strength of this production is in the chemistry of Mr. Grammer and Mr. Hodge, the unlikely Georges and Albin, arriving on this stage from two different worlds, neither of which includes a nightclub for drag queens and those who love them. “A Little More Mascara” and “With You On My Arm”, two Act One duets, radiated warmth from this remarkable partnership. Robin De Jesus, the hysterically funny Jacob, Georges and Albin’s fluttering butler, who can dish with the best of them, added sensitivity to his edge, baring that same level of self-preservation showcased by Albin. Terry Johnson, Director, brought out the best in this spectacular cast. Les Cagelles, six divas with tour de force personalities, engaged the crowd with show-stopping verve.

Tim Shortall’s sets revealed the wear and tare of La Cage, a French Night Club that’s seen better days, as well as the gaudy ambiance of Georges and Albin’s Riviera flat. Matthew Wright’s costumes, Les Cagelles’ sequined, sparkling bustieres and feathery accessories, as well as Albin’s gowns and Georges’ cool resort wear, are all stunning. Richard Mawbey, wig and makeup designer, makes the most of his magical materials, and Nick Richings and Jonathan Deans team up for resonant lighting and sound. Be sure to see this new Cage Aux Folles, and I guarantee you’ll be humming the tunes for months to come.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at