Cygnet Theatre offers to return theatre audiences what they truly want from the show – a fun, frothy musical, with heart and lots of glitter. They deliver on this with LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, which is playing through November 7th.
This musical, which premiered in 1983 with book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (based on the French farce by Jean Poiret) puts the audience in a club run by Georges (Lance Arthur Smith) who has a chorus of Cagelles (Domo D’dante, Christian Duarte, Siri Hafso, Dante Macatantan, and Steven Duncan Sass), and is married to Albin who also happens to be the infamous star performer “Zaza” (David McBean).
When their Georges’ son Jean Michel (Jake Bradford) announces that he is in love and getting married that is shock enough, but then they discover the new in-laws will be the incredibly conservative politician Dindon (John Rosen) who has been trying to get shows like their shut down.
Madcap misadventure and some truly heartbreaking moments happen as they try to be “normal” as defined by a conservative politician. Jean Michel’s solution is to have Albin go off somewhere and not meet anyone, to maintain the facade. But when that plan falls through they have to decide if they continue the farce or be proud of who they are and declare “I am what I am.”
Smith brings a necessary seriousness to Georges, to balance out all of the other farcical aspects of the show. He manages to reign in the chaos on his clubs stage, while also trying to manage the chaos in his home as this all unfolds.
McBean is excellent as Albin/Zaza, and his Zaza isn’t as crazy over the top as may be anticipated- this Zaza knows she is a star and talented and is also the person who nurtured this family for the last 20 years. The hurt is palpable and believable when it feels like Jean Michel is betraying those who raised him in an attempt to appease these new in-laws.
Jake Bradford as Jean Michel is suitably over the moon and completely oblivious to anything other than his desire to wed.. His second act change of heart about the plan is nicely done as well. Megan McCarthy is lovely as the young Anne who has captured his heart.
John Rosen and Barbara Schoenhofer are a nice foil to the zaniness with their stiff, and easily shockable conservative couple, who just may have some problems of their own. Beto Fernandez, Shirley Johnston, and Allen Lucky Weaver round out the comical cast.
Director by Sean Murray with Terry O’Donnell as music director, Patrick Marion as orchestrator, Matt Lescault-Wood and Stewart Blackwood as co-sound designers, Chris Rynne as lighting designer, and Sean Fanning as scenic and projections designer the world comes to life. Kudos to Peter Herman for his work as the wig and make-up designer which is essential to a show like this and the show and the performers look gorgeous.
Choreography by Luke Harvey Jacobs and Katie Banville bring entertaining numbers with the appropriately zany energy required.
The past year has offered a lot of challenges, but LA CAGE AUX FOLLES offers a little glitter to help balance it out. After all the lyrics even recommend that “We face life though it’s sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter, Face life, with a little guts and lots of glitter.”
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is playing through November 7th at Cygnet Theatre. For ticket and showtime information go to www.cygnettheatre.com. The show’s run time is 2 hours and 45 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.
Cygnet Theatre is requiring masks and vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test for all attendees. Masks are required indoors regardless of vaccination status. Masks must completely cover your nose and mouth for the entirety of the show.
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