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Theater Review: "La Cage Aux Folles" At The Pantages

Shaina Eng |
July 12, 2012 | 5:56 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

"La Cage Aux Folles," featuring George Hamilton and Christopher Sieber, is at the Pantages Theatre for two weeks this July.  (Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy of Broadway/L.A.)
"La Cage Aux Folles," featuring George Hamilton and Christopher Sieber, is at the Pantages Theatre for two weeks this July. (Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy of Broadway/L.A.)

It’s been almost thirty years since Jerry Herman's “La Cage Aux Folles” first found its way to Broadway, and a few incarnations later, this particular Tony award-winning revival has reached the glitz and glamour of Hollywood at the Pantages Theatre, featuring some big-name headliners and a completely fabulous cast.

 “La Cage Aux Folles” tells the story of Georges (George Hamilton), the owner of the nightclub La Cage Aux Folles, and his partner Albin (Christopher Sieber), who performs as the sassy and glamorous Zaza. Hilarity ensues when Georges’s son, Jean-Michel (Michael Lowney), comes home with news that he’s getting married to a girl named Anne (Allison Blair McDowell), whose father (Bernard Burak Sheredy) is the ultra-conservative leader of the Tradition, Family and Morality Party.  

But that isn’t the worst part—in order to please his fiancée’s parents who are coming to visit them in Saint-Tropez, Jean-Michel says that Albin, who basically raised Jean-Michel as his own son, isn’t invited. The show follows the family members through their internal struggles, as they learn the importance of staying true to their family’s identity.

Sieber really steals the show as Albin. His impeccable comedic timing has the audience rolling with laughter, and his intensity in more dramatic scenes draws more than a few tears. However, Hamilton’s performance as Georges leaves something to be desired; oftentimes, it seems as if he is just going through the motions of reciting lines. His portrayal lacks depth and emotion, making it hard to relate to or sympathize with his character. Furthermore, Hamilton’s vocal performance is far from stellar and is often overpowered by Sieber’s powerful pipes and over-the-top personality.

Even Les Cagelles (Matt Anctil, Logan Keslar, Trevor Downey, Mark Roland, Terry Lavell, and Donald C. Shorter, Jr.) outshine Hamilton. In both the backstage scenes and in the musical numbers, they are flashy, sassy, and fun to watch, and are the perfect ensemble to support Sieber’s alter ego, Zaza.

The way the show is staged also adds to its atmosphere, encouraging audience participation and using the whole theatre for parts of the action to make it seem like the Pantages is La Cage. Tim Shortall’s scenic design is well-suited for the show—the clever transitions between on-stage and behind-the-curtain scenes helped the show flow smoothly, and the set, while glamorous, is not too over-the-top.

Lively, feisty, and fun, “La Cage Aux Folles” is an entertaining and heartwarming musical with memorable performances, great actors, and songs that will have you humming the day after.  For a night of glitz and glamour, you can’t go wrong at La Cage Aux Folles. 

Reach reporter Shaina Eng here; follow her on Twitter here.

[Editor's Note: a previous version the story erroneously said that the show premiered on Broadway almost forty years ago. This has been changed to reflect the date of the musical's premiere]



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