La Cage Aux Folles
From Glitz and Glam to Becoming a Man
La Cage Aux Folles is one of the many Broadway shows I have seen, and one of the most entertaining. The show is currently performing at the State Theater in Downtown, Minneapolis through October 23.
The story is centered around a gay couple, Albin (Christopher Sieber) and Georges (George Hamilton). Albin, who performs in drag as “ZaZa” is the headliner at La Cage Aux Folles, a night club owned by his partner Georges. When their adult son Jean-Michel (Billy Harrigan Tighe) comes to town, he brings the news that he is planning to be married…to a woman, Anne (Allison Blair McDowell), whose family wishes to meet Jean-Michel’s family. To complicate matters, Anne’s father is a member of the Tradition, Family and Morality Party. To impress Anne’s parents, Jean-Michel requests that his parents present as a “typical” family, and asks his unreliable biological mom to attend instead of Albin. In order to do so, Albin must leave for the day and the house needs some redecorating. Instead of leaving, Albin tries to “man up,” so he can pretend to be Jean-Michel’s uncle. When Albin gets word that Jean-Michel’s mother cannot attend, he dresses in drag pretending to be Jean-Michel’s mother.
The pre-show opened with a man dressed in drag wearing a pink dress and high heel shoes, who interacted with the audience drawing much laughter. The show, with a predominantly male cast, opened with “We Are What We Are” a fantastic musical number.
All of the dancers are absolutely amazing; from ballet, to tap dancing, to jazz. The songs were very well written, and projected well as a cast, but I especially enjoyed when Albin sang, “I Am What I Am” with emotion and feeling to end the first act. Both acts were very well performed, but I wish the second act could have had a clearer story line.
Although the set was very simple, it worked well with the show. The curtain was hot pink, the band was positioned above the stage where the actors would occasionally interact with them, and the sets for the dances performed at the club and costumes were fantastic! The different lighting effects also set the mood. Between scenes, the transitions were generally pretty fast and smooth, though I would have preferred more dancing or performing in between.
This show is for anyone who wants to get a good laugh and hear a story about finding who you really are and accepting life as it was given to you. With the different personalities and characters, the story was sometimes scattered and hard to follow, but I still found it very enjoyable