Through October 8|
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES 4410 Bailey Avenue/O’Connell & Company
By Augustine Warner
It’s a wonderful show, filled with song and dance and facing America’s social wars.
Perhaps two years ago, Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman’s musical version of Jean Poiret’s “La Cage aux Folles” was a has-been of a show, not done in years.
“La Cage” once was done frequently around here on varying theatrical levels.
In these times, O’Connell & Company has brought the show back, a wonderful production led by Gregory Gjurich and Daniel Lendzian and helmed by Dewayne Barrett.
For 20 years, Albin (Lendzian) has been the toast of St. Tropez as Zaza.
His personal partner and MC at La Cage aux Folles is Georges (Gjurich), with him every day.
EXCEPT, one night, Georges went to bed with the most beautiful woman in Paris’ legendary night club, the Lido.
She wound up pregnant and Albin and Georges have been raising Jean-Michel (David Wysocki) since, a handsome, well-educated and straight young man.
He’s so straight that there is a girl and they are getting married.
There is a complication.
Her father is a right-wing pol and in France that’s really right.
He wants to “clean up” the Riviera, removing night clubs like La Cage aux Folles, with its flashy and beautifully done drag show.
This isn’t the only drag nightclub on the Riviera and the community wants the business.
That includes nearby restaurateur Jacqueline (Mary Coppola Gjurich), who leads “La Cage” chorus line Les Cagelles and Albin with ‘La Cage aux Folles,” including the legendary Can Can
Jean-Michel is desperate to marry Anne (Anna Fernandez) and is willing to throw his parents overboard to hide their real lives from Anne’s father, Edouard Dindon (Michael J. Galante), “With Anne on My Arm.”
That’s why we go from Georges and Les Cagelles with “We Are What We Are” and Albin and Les Cagelles with “A Little More Mascara” to “Cocktail Counterpoint, ”with Georges, Dindon, Mme. Dindon (Mary Kate O’Connell) and Jacob (Joey Bucheker), Georges and Alban’s household servant.
The whitewashing of Jean-Michel’s parents’ lifestyle nearly breaks up Albin and Georges.
Albin is fed up with the charade and shows the truth, with Jacqueline and the company, performing “The Best of Times.”
That leads to blackmailing Dindon into approving the marriage and Jean-Michel apologizing for what he did in cowardly trying to hide his parents’ sexuality.
It’s all a great show, with another fine directing and choreography performance by Dewayne Barrett.
Lendzian and Gjurich are wonderful, particularly working with Les Cagelles.
Wysocki and Bucheker are also strong.
There is nice work in smaller roles from Coppola Gjurich, Galante, O’Connell, Kelleigh Murray and John Kreuzer.
This all works on Bill Baldwin’s set, particularly with strong stage management on scene changes.
So, you have the basic strong material of songs like “We Are What We Are,” “La Cage Aux Folles” and “The Best of Times” along with good direction, choreography and rehearsals producing a really hit show, pointed into our times.
“La Cage aux Folles” is a must see.
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