October 23, 2014
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Dazzling, high-energy ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ at TBTS
Don Fowler

Theatre-by-the-Sea closes its 80th season with a dazzling, high-energy production of the Tony Award-winning musical, “La Cage Aux Folles.”

With original costumes by Warwick’s Marcia Zammarelli that are worthy of a Broadway production and second act performances by two Rhode Island equity actors, this is a “La Cage” that mesmerizes audiences from the spectacular opening number to an even more spectacular finale.

Peter Reardon makes a most convincing Georges, owner of Saint-Tropez night club, along with his life partner, Albin (Jonathan Hammond), his star performer who appears on stage as Zaza. Their son, Jean Michel, brings home his fiancée and her ultra-conservative parents to meet the parents, causing ultimate chaos and setting up a moral dilemma that is at times quite poignant but ultimately one big hilarious situation. If you’ve seen the show, you know what’s coming. If not, you’ll be surprised by the silly but satisfying conclusion.

The entire cast is strong and our two local actors make it stronger. Tom Gleadow and Casey Seymour Kimm (an Edgewood resident) both have musical theatre quality voices that they seldom have an opportunity to showcase in the more serious plays they appear in at Gamm and other local theatres.

Director Charles Repole has not only assembled a very talented cast, he has found the perfect chorus, enhanced by Zammarelli’s costumes and Providence’s Michael Dates’ wigs and makeup.

“La Cage Aux Folles” has been around for a long time, but is as topical as ever. Reardon told me that he had played the role of his son 20 years ago.

Good humor, fabulous costumes, convincing makeup and wigs, great dancing and energetic acting are further enhanced by a fabulous score, including two of the best show tunes ever written: “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times.” Kimm’s voice shines through in “The Best of Times,” in perfect harmony with Hammond. And Hammond’s rendition of “I Am What I Am” will give you goose bumps. Conductor Ben Krauss has added a couple of members to his terrific band, enhancing the musical numbers.

I’ll put this production of “La Cage Aux Folles” up against any I have seen. The musical runs through Sept. 1. Tickets range from $39-$59. Call 782-8587 for reservations.


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