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Richmond Triangle Players La Cage Aux Folles

By • May 28th, 2013 • Category: Reviews, Virginia
La Cage Aux Folles
Richmond Triangle Players: (Info) (Web)
Richmond Triangle Players Theatre, Richmond, VA
Through June 29th
2:40 with intermission
$28-$32
Reviewed May 25th, 2013

Some shows become dated with time. Some stay the same, and others get even better. Richmond Triangle Players’ current production of La Cage aux Folles falls into the third category.

Forty years after it was written as a French play by Jean Poiret and 30 years after being adapted as a Broadway musical by Jerry Herman (music and lyrics) and Harvey Fierstein (book), the themes of the play remain current and relevant and the music both touching and uplifting. Adding little touches like a cell phone or a reference to Ambien or Xanax help bring it into our time.

Georges (Matt Beyer) is the owner of a nightclub in the Riviera’s Saint-Tropez, and his life partner Albin (Kirk Morton) performs as the club’s star attraction, Zaza. When Georges’ son from a one-night dalliance with a show girl 24 years ago, but raised by Georges and Albin, brings his fiancée’s conservative parents home to meet the flashy pair, the bonds of family and love are put to the test.

Having seen the original Broadway show, I had my doubts as to how RTP could pull off the elaborate dance numbers on their small stage. Much to my surprise and pleasure, choreographer Nicole Foret Oberleitner pulls it off nicely with just five chorus “girls” and lots of creative movement. RTP’s night club like atmosphere, with little tables with flickering candles interspersed throughout the house actually enhance the feeling of being in the audience of La Cage. D. Mark Souza’s bright, colorful and glitzy costumes and Michael Jarett’s vivacious and assorted hues of lighting further enhanced that feeling.

But it was the performances that shined the brightest in this production. Beyer’s voice, persona and stage presence were powerful. My mother (yes, my mother — who has seen five different productions of La Cage) said he was even better than George Hamilton in the national tour (even without his tan).

Morton was every part Beyer’s equal with his soulful and emotional yet humorous portrayal of Albin/Zaza. Both of their voices were top-notch, and the love between the characters came through both dramatically and vocally. Morton was flamboyant without being over the top and dramatic while still keeping the emotional edge real

Others in the cast were appropriately over the top; especially Les Cagelles: Chantal (Brian Baez), Dermah (Asa Maurer), Hanna (Ian Stearns), Mercedes (Andrew Etheredge) and Phaedra (Philip Baraoidan). Baraoidan’s facial expressions actually go beyond over the top and steal every number he appears in. Durron Marquis Tyre also stood out as their maid/butler Jacob as did Dan Stackhouse as the nightclub’s beleaguered stage manager, Francis who becomes increasingly bruised by dominatrix Hanna.

Tyler D. Wilson and Alona Metcalf are convincingly young and innocent as the engaged lovers Jean-Michel and Anne, however they don’t quite show the hormonal spark that keeps the two together despite their differing familial upbringings. Mark Persinger and Lisa Kotula are appropriately prim and stuffy as Anne’s parents.

It is a statement on our society that 40 years after it was written, with gay marriage in the forefront of the news, that the themes and emotions of La Cage are just as relevant today. As Zaza says: “life’s not worth a damn til you can say hey world I am what I am.”

And as another of the memorable songs from the show says: “make this moment last,
because the Best of Times is now.” Catch Richmond Triangle Players’ current production of La Cage aux Folles because some of the best of Richmond’s theater is now!

The Cast

  • Georges: Matt Beyer
  • Albin (Zaza): Kirk Morton
  • Les Cagelles
  • Chantal: Brian Baez
  • Dermah: Asa Maurer
  • Hanna: Ian Stearns
  • Mercedes: Andrew Etheredge
  • Phaedra: Philip Baraoidan
  • Francis: Dan Stackhouse
  • Jacob: Durron Marquis Tyre
  • Jean-Michel: Tyler D. Wilson
  • Anne: Alona Metcalf
  • Jacqueline: Nicole Foret Oberleitner
  • M. Renaud/M. Dindon: Mark Persinger
  • Mme. Renaud/Mme. Dindon: Lisa Kotula

The Crew

  • Director: Joe Pabst
  • Musical Director: Timothy Brewster
  • Choreographer: Nicole Foret Oberleitner
  • Stage Manager: Sharon Gregory
  • Set Designer: Frank Foster
  • Lighting Design: Michael Jarett
  • Costume Design: D. Mark Souza
  • Spotlight Operator: Eric Brothers
  • Light Board Operator: Tessa Hoerst
  • Light Board Op. Swing: Emma Follmer

Disclaimer: Richmond Triangle Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

This article can be linked to as: http://showbizradio.com/go/9495.

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