Sunday, August 16, 2015

La Cage Aux Folles
Ignite Theatre: 8/14 – 9/6

                        Les Cagelles

“La Cage Aux Folles” is a musical comedy that features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (“Hello Dolly!“, “Mame” and “Mack and Mabel“) and a book by Harvey Fierstein. In 1983 it received six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. Subsequently it’s won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical twice.
     The Ignite Theatre production now on view on the main stage at Aurora Fox Arts is an extravaganza of glittering glam and glitz that never loses sight of the life-long love of Georges and Albin, two gay men who run a fashionable gay nightclub in St. Tropez.
    L-R: Darren Koehler and Jim Hitzke

Near the top of the play Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, returns to tell them he is marrying his fiancée, Anne.   Things get complicated when Georges discovers that Anne is the daughter of Edouard Dindon (dindon means turkey in French!), the minister of the bureau of Traditional Family Values. Things get even more hilarious as things have to get “straight”ened up when Jean Michel asks Georges to guess who’s coming to dinner?
     Director Bernie Cardell has done a great job casting the show as well as pacing it at a nice clip.
     Jim Hitzke’s Georges is beautifully realized and wonderfully sung. His singing of “Song on the Sand” and “Look Over There” both bring tears to the eye.

   John White as Albin/Zaza and Les Cagelles

     John White’s superb Albin is at his best stepping into the spotlight to sing the rousing anthem: “I Am What I Am.”
      The dynamic created between Hitzke and White is heartfelt and genuine.
      Andy Anderson’s portrayal of Dindon is better than the one I saw in the original show on Broadway. His ability to lend this character a   snobbish smug air of superiority that shifts to horrified embarrassment and humiliation later is simply delicious.
     Shahara Ray’s portrayal of Jacqueline sparkles as she unleashes a rendition of “The Best of Times” that’s worth the price of admission all on its own. Randy Chalmers acting of the role of Jacob received roars of approval from the audience as he sought his moment in the spotlight in Act Two.    
     Darren Koehler’s Jean Michel is admirably acted and sung. One hopes to see him again soon upon the Denver stage.
     The high-kicking Cagelles do a great job hoofing their way through the big numbers. The actors who are cast as Les Cagelles are: Preston Lee Britton, Peter Dearth, Carlos Jimenez, Christian Munck, Jeffrey Parizotto and Eric Pung.
     Matthew D. Peters keeps the choreography swishing along beautifully.
     The music is played with exuberant flash and flair by the backstage orchestra conducted by music director Blake Nawa’a. 
    Rob Prytherc's scenic design is adequate and sometimes takes a bit longer than one might wish for set-up.
     Director Bernie Cardell’s production engages the heart much more effectively than the one I saw on Broadway in the nineteen-eighties. And it’s funnier, too!

For tickets call: 866-811-4111 or go online at www.ignitetheatre.comMarlowe's Musings

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