Wednesday October 18th 2017

“La Cage Aux Folles”

Recommended***Over the years, we have seen many versions of “La Cage Aux Folles”, the three time Tony Award winner with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, that takes to the Saint-Tropez nightclub district, where seedy is the norm and one never really knows who is who and what is what! The owner of the club, Georges ( played by George Hamilton, who most of us know from his fame as  glorious looking man with a great tan, perfect hair and some talent) who is “married” to his star attraction Albin, who appears on the stage as Zaza ( the performance by Christopher Sieber, a masterful one indeed, is reason enough to see this production- he is dynamite). They have raised a son, Jean-Michel(Billy Harrigan Tighe) who has come home to advise them that he has fallen in love and plans to marry. He is bringing her family to meet his and since her father ( a very funny turn by Bruce Winant) is ultra conservative and extremely anti Homosexual, it is important for Albin to be gone and his actual mother to be there. As you can guess, all things being musical comedy, this does not take place and what we have is an all hell breaks loose evening of how love and family can triumph over all. While this is not the origonal ( or even close) this is better than some of the others that have come through town.

This touring company, directed by Terry Johnson with some wonderful choreography by Lynne Page, fits very snugly into the smalles of the Broadway In Chicago major houses, The Bank Of America Theatre with a set that is the nightclub and smoothly adjusts to their apartment as well as the sidewalks of Saint-Tropez and a restaurant. The dancers are very masculine and compared to previous productions, these men have no pretense of being female ( in any way) but they are agile and acrobatic and certainly deserve the curtian call they are given, just before the stars-Matt Anctil, Logan Keslar,Donald C. Shorter,Jr.,Mark Roland,Terry Lavell and Trevor Downey- they earned it!

This production begins with a 15 minute bit, where a Transvestite comes onstage and goes over some notes for the audience, a sort of warm up. He finishes just about 7:30 ish ( a line he used as a few latecomers entered asking if their tickets said start time was 7:30 ish” , which got a scream from the audience. His “bit” was very funny and did set the tone for what we were about to witness. The entrance of Hamilton, drew applause, which is expected when a “name” does a live play, but although he does a decent job, and gets much better in the second act, he doesn’t have the pipes to sing this marvelous music (“With You On My Arm” and “Song On The Sand”) and I never say the chemistry that should exist between these two men until the very final scene of the “Finale”, However, his character is truly the “straight man” ( excuse the pun) for Albin, who owns the stage whenever he is on it and Sieber truly plays the audience and they eat it up. His handling of “The Best of Times” leading into a full cast number ( with a lot of audience participation) and “I Am What I Am” ( a showstopping end to Act One) is worth the price of the ticket, alone.

But there is a lot more to the cast with a darling Allison Blair McDowell as Anne, the soon to be wife of Jean-Michel, a great character job on the part of Suellen Estey as her mother,the powerful and adorable Gay Marshall as Jaqueline and the very funny ( and campy) over the top Jeigh Madjus as the “butler” Jacob. He is hysterical. In fact, this is a show filled with laughter as well as great music and dance and yet a strong story of real love and family and that people need to be who they are instead of putting on pretense to satisfy others. How often are we put in a position where we have to do things that are not part of our being just to please someone else? Maybe we should heed the words of Fierstein and “be who we are”!

Sorry to say that this production is only here through New Year’s Day, so if you need to escape from reality and get a lesson in reality, do not wait to order your tickets. Performances are as follows:

Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.,Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 7:30 p.m. ( with a matinee on the 23rd at 2 p.m.), Saturday, December 24th at 2 p.m. and on the 31st at 2 and 8 p.m., NO SHOW ON CHRISTMAS, but there is one on Monday the 26th at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and on New Year’s Day at 2 p.m, ( perfect for those who are not sports fanatics)

The Bank Of America Theatre is located at 18 West Monroe ( between State and Dearborn) with easy access by public transportation and several quality and affordable dining spots in walking distance.

Tickets range from $32-$95 and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by phone at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com

 

Leave a Comment

ITEX.com

More from category

“Billy Elliot, the Musical”
“Billy Elliot, the Musical”

Tonight was a very special one. Porchlight Music Theatre, beginning its 23rd season in Chicago , opened its production [Read More]

“Hard Times”
“Hard Times”

Highly Recommended **** As Lookingglass Theatre embraces its 30 seasons of bringing quality theater to Chicago, they [Read More]

“”The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” reviewed by Carol Moore
“”The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” reviewed by Carol Moore

Recommended **** Other Theatre’s “The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” is a modern cautionary tale, a sharply [Read More]

“Dracula”   The Hypocrites
“Dracula” The Hypocrites

Somewhat Recommended ** Over the years (in fact 20 years), I have watched the work of Sean Graney and his Hypocrites [Read More]

Destinos  -“Growing up Gonzales”
Destinos -“Growing up Gonzales”

Highly Recommended **** The 1st Chicago International Latino Theater Festival is here! Unlike the Goodman Latinofest of [Read More]