In a theatrical landscape largely dominated by musicals and plays focused on LGBT tragedies, Stand Up For… Theatre’s production of “La Cage Aux Folles,” directed by Ed Higgins and Josh Anderson, is a spot of light in the dark. With a quick and witty script by Harvey Fierstein and a hummable score by Jerry Herman, the show centers around a gay couple in mid-20th century France; Georges (Michael Bevard), the emcee of the titular drag club, and Albin (Ryan DeVoe), the club’s star performer. Their world is suddenly rocked when George’s son, Jean-Michel (Adam Abruzzo), whom Albin has raised since birth, reveals that he is marrying the daughter of a conservative party leader who seeks to shut down the city’s drag clubs. The pair must then figure out how to get the girl’s parent’s blessing despite her father’s intolerance.
…I truly recommend Stand Up For… Theatre’s production of ‘La Cage Aux Folles.’
Bevard’s clear, warm vocals stunned during numbers such as “Song on the Sand,” and “Look Over There,” both of which also exemplified acting talent and strong chemistry with the other performers. Timoth David Copney’s endless energy and excellent comedic chops made him perfect for the role of the Jacob, Albin’s flamboyant butler who dreams of performing at La Cage. Notable members of the supporting cast include Olivia Winter as Anne Dindon, Jean-Michel’s charming fiancée, and John Sheldon as Francis, a stage manager at La Cage.
Of course, the most notable performer of the evening was easily DeVoe, whose portrayal of Albin was one of the most hilarious performances I’ve seen on stage in a long time. From delivering rapid-fire one-liners (such as “I love women too, but I wouldn’t marry one,” upon hearing of Jean-Michel’s engagement) to expertly executed physical humor and facial expressions, DeVoe’s performance was truly exceptional. Furthermore, he also excelled in his more emotional moments as well; I had chills from the first note of the act one finale, “I Am What I Am,” until the house lights rose.
The production also featured an ensemble of drag performers, called Les Cagelles, portrayed by women and men alike, who danced and sang during the large group numbers scattered throughout the show. Though their dancing was not always as tight as it could have been, the moments where they were in sync were incredibly fun to watch. Choreography Kristen Rigsby was wonderful throughout the show; the titular number was particularly entertaining.
The costume (by Grant Meyers and Jennifer Hollett), makeup (by Audrey McLaughlin, Ryan DeVoe and Bambi Galore) and set design (Ryan DeVoe, Jordan Hollett, Patrick Anderson and Josh Anderson) of the show were all fantastic. The stage’s backdrop consisted of a curtain that could be opened to reveal a fireplace, instantly transforming the set from depicting the stage at La Cage to depicting Georges and Albin’s living room. Les Cagelles different costumes, from sparkly ball gowns to black dresses with rainbow-patterned underskirts, were each gorgeous, as were Albin’s outfits (my favorite featured a red headwrap detailed with plastic fruit).
If you are interested in a heartfelt, honest, and truly uplifting story in this, a less than wonderful time for LGBT people in America, I truly recommend Stand Up For… Theatre’s production of “La Cage Aux Folles.” To quote Ed Higgins’s director’s note in the program, this is a performance that teaches us that “understanding and tolerance can find a place in even the hardest of hearts.”
Running Time: Two and a half hours with one intermission
Stand Up For… Theatre’s production of “La Cage Aux Folles” runs through November 4th at the Chesapeake Arts Center, located at 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, MD. For tickets and information, click here.