La Cage, in general is one show that I'll admit, before I'd seen it, I really could not have expected it to be as moving, or as wonderful as it is. The very first time I saw it staged was in 2006, when our local Diamond Head Theatre produced an amazing production (click to read my thoughts of that production at that time) of it. I went in thinking, "Yes, we all know the story... BIRDCAGE..." I came out absolutely loving the show and seeing WHY it has so many admirers.
The show, to me, is all about love and self worth, dignity, and acceptance. No matter how many times I see the show,... I tear up during Jean-Michel's apology,... usually not for his words, but for the look on Albin's face as he says them. There is something so completely wonderful about a show that allows us to see that ALL differences need to be celebrated and admired.
This particular production was INCREDIBLE, though. The cast was AMAZING. Douglas Hodge gives probably one of the greatest performances I've seen all year as Albin. As mentioned in my 2006 thoughts on the show, I really feel as though the success of any La Cage is dependent on the casting of Albin. Mr. Hodge played the role the way I like to see it... He gave Albin SUCH dignity and HEART and never once turned the comedy of the role into a caricature of a portrayal - which I think is the danger in playing this role and what sets the truly amazing performances apart from those who are only playing it for laughs. Mr. Hodge's performance was heartbreaking, hysterical, and SO incredibly moving. Start to finish, I think it was truly one of the most amazing performances of the year. LOVED it.
Kelsey Grammer was good as Georges. I didn't go in to the show a particular fan of his work, but I gained a great deal of respect for him after seeing the show. He was hysterical and endearing and though the role of Georges is usually a role that's overshadowed by Albin, I feel he did a lot with it. Robin DeJesus was SO endearing as Jacob! I loved him in In the Heights, but he really is a scene-stealer here... And the Cagelles... were just amazing, most notably Nick Adams, who constantly looked annoyed and disinterested while he was dancing - his constant snarled expression was hysterical!
I saw the show on the last preview performance before opening night and the audience was AMAZING! They were SO energized and screamed and yelled with me during the final moments of the show when the curtain came down on the last wonderful kiss. :) To be in the audience and see that incredible performance with others who obviously know and love the show, was an incredible, INCREDIBLE experience. And to think that I almost didn't buy tickets to the show, because it conflicted with one of my soap events... I'm SO glad I went!!
So glad in fact, that I even gave up tickets I'd purchased to another show to see it a second time before my trip was over. The show the second time was just as wonderful, though the audience was a bit more subdued. The laughs weren't as immediate or as loud, and the final scene just got a HUGE ovation. Still it was fun to see from different seats in the theatre AND I got to volley that beach ball they throw into the audience! ;)
Rarely do I wait at the stage door when I don't know anyone in the cast, but the show was so great,
I decided to anyway... BTW, I loved how the sign to the right of the picture says, "Club La Cage." :)
With A.J. Shivley who plays Jean-Michel. He was so sweet!! :)
Because I wasn't there specifically to see Kelsey Grammer, I didn't want to take up other people's
time by asking for a photo (I wanted all the folks who came to see him to get their chance) so the only
photo that I got was of him signing someone else's playbill. He was very nice, though and spent a great deal of time with everyone.
The person that I did want to see was Douglas Hodge - who was surprisingly chatty at the stage door!! He was talking with me about some sound problems they had that night and asked me if I noticed. Thanked me for seeing the show twice and said, "Already? We just opened!" :) He was also talking as this photo was being taken... something about how unseasonably cold the weather was. :) He was the nicest person!! BTW, I look ridiculous in the photo... :P
SOOO glad I got to see this show (TWICE!) and so glad that they were recognized with so many Tony nominations - which were truly, TRULY deserved!!