Peggy Sue Dunigan

Off the Wall’s La Cage aux Folles

By - Dec 12th, 2009 01:32 pm
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Artistic director Dale Gutzman both directs and stars in Off the Wall Theatre’s  La Cage Aux, which opened Dec. 10.

LaCageAuxFollessmallHarvey 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.

Miller is an endearing Albin and a feisty Zsa Zsa. He has a warm relationship with Gutzman’s Georges, who is always fun to see on his own stage. Miller’s rendition of I Am Who I Am to close the second act poignantly underscores the themes of La Cage — that love resounds through people’s hearts, however they dress and at whatever age. McGuire and Rousch, as Jean-Michael and Anne, complement the message with a  perfect picture of young male-female love. Their stylish voices to add to its loveliness mix.

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.

Categories: Theater

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