The musical "La Cage aux Folles" has quite a pedigree. Born as a French movie in 1973, it was Americanized and set to music on stage a decade later, then morphed into a "straight" movie comedy called "The Bird Cage" in 1996 with uber-comics
That second revival of the stage production, with
By now the plot line is quite familiar – Georges, who owns a glitzy night club featuring drag queens, enjoys a two-decade romantic relationship with the club's star performer, Albin, who camps up the stage as Zaza. He also has a 20-year-old son, spawned during a "moment of weakness," whom he and Albin have raised lovingly.
It's when the son announces his engagement to a lovely young lady – whose father's politics are somewhat to the right of
Can Georges nudge Albin out of the spotlight long enough for a parental meeting without stepping on emotional toes? What do you think?
The Segerstrom Center production, headlined by the well-tanned veteran actor
Both actors are excellent, with Hamilton's sophisticated smoothness offering sharp contrast to Sieber's fluttery histrionics. Think
Subtlety is never much of a consideration here, but showmanship reigns supreme – as when Sieber wrings out the first-act curtain closer, "I Am What I Am," gaining momentum on each verse. It's little wonder that the Forbidden Broadway satirists re-dubbed this number "I Ham What I Ham."
Michael Lowney offers a fine sense of "normality" as the son and Allison Blair McDowell is a visual treat as his fiancee. All strive, mostly unsuccessfully, to keep the show from being stolen by Jeigh Madjus as the pair's flouncing butler/maid.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this story incorrectly named Katie Donohue as the fiancee.
The arrival of the girl's parents (Bernard Burak Sheredy and Cathy Newman) thrusts the comic discomfort into high gear, nicely amplified by Gay Marshall as the proprietress of a neighboring nightspot. Dale Hensley scores physically as the club's injury-prone stage manager.
For playgoers whose only reference point is "The Bird Cage," there is, indeed, a rollicking scene in which Hamilton's character attempts to "butch up" Sieber's flamer by teaching him to "walk like
Preceding the show, a chorine billed only as "Lily White" warms up the audience with an extended comic number, which can become a bit tiresome. A suggestion: Turn down the volume of your mike a few decibels. They can hear you out on Bristol Street.
"La Cage aux Folles" has entertained in many incarnations over the past four decades, none more fast, furious and funny as the current version at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
If You Go
What: "La Cage aux Folles"
Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
When: at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1 and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays until Aug. 5
Cost: Tickets start at $22.50