Off the Wall’s La Cage aux Folles
Artistic director Dale Gutzman both directs and stars in Off the Wall Theatre’s La Cage Aux, which opened Dec. 10.
Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman set their Best Musical of 1983 in the milieau of transvestite nightclub in Saint-Tropez. Georges, the club owner, lives there with his long time partner and featured performer, Albin (Karl Miller), a.k.a. Zsa Zsa. The boy they have raised from birth, Jean-Michael (Patrick McGuire), announces his impending marriage to Anne (a very feminine Jacqueline Roush) and brings the girl home to meet the parents. Frenzy and hilarity ensue.
Off the Wall has a small theater and a small stage, which make this La Cage’s raucous extravaganzas perhaps too overwhelming. It’s a big show in a small place, with plenty of maribou, stilettos, sequins, glitter, feathers and stellar, masculine legs in such production numbers such as We Are What We Are, La Cage aux Folles and The Best of Times.
Musical Director Jack Forbes Wilson literally plays a central role — his grand piano is in the middle of things, and it’s fun to watch him play. Wilson isn’t just the piano player, he’s a character, Jacques. He has a touching tete a tete with Zsa Zsa, which turns into a charming cabaret numberf.
The 140-minute show, though delightfully filled with innuendo and irreverent comedy, speaks to the ultimate meaning of family however one defines masculinity or femininity. Even ostrich feathers doused with Shalimar perfume can offer sweet comfort covered with love.
Off the Wall Theatre presents La Cage aux Folles through December 31. Call 414-327-3553 or visit OWT’s website for tickets.