The verdict is unanimous: This scaled-down mounting of La Cage Aux Folles, a transfer from London’s Mernier Chocolate Factory, is a lovely, fun and nuanced take on the campy original. Doglass Hodge lived up to all expectations – blowing away every reviewer, particularly in his performance of “I Am What I Am” – and Kelsey Grammer exceeded what had been expected from him – using his voice (which is far better than anyone had supposed) and subtlety to balance Hodge’s (appropriately) over-the-top performance. And the two stars are backed up by a solid ensemble and hilarious supporting cast. As one reviewer said, this show leaves you feeling that “the best of times IS now.”
New York Times
“The ladies of the chorus from “La Cage aux Folles” have never looked more appealing than they do in the warm, winning production that opened Sunday night at the Longacre Theater… This deliberately disheveled show…is a far cry from the high-gloss original production of 1983 or the glamorous, soulless revival that opened less than six years ago… That’s partly because of the stylish yin and yang of its stars… Mr. Hodge, who originated the part [of Albin] in the London revival, brings a fluttery hyperintensity to the role that recharges it… You don’t realize how much pain and anger have gone into this self-construction until you hear him do “I Am What I Am,” the show’s signature anthem, at the end of the first act. Mr. Hodge breathes fire here, his hitherto scratchy, campy voice growing into a white-hot blaze. It is — and who’d a thunk it? — the most electric interpretation of a song on Broadway right now. Mr. Grammer provides the ideal counterpoint to this hysterical creature, in a cool, modest performance that has its own sneaky charm. That his singing voice is correspondingly quiet, with no muscle-flexing baritone bravado, makes Georges’s over-ripe sentimental ballads (“Look Over There,” “Song on the Sand”) palatable and even touching in their unaffected sincerity.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“[Douglas Hodge] is giving the most exuberant musical-comedy performance of the season. Hodge is the primary reason this riotously funny and, yes, emotionally affecting revival of the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical has returned to Broadway only five years after its last New York appearance. Yet there is more to the show than Hodge’s star-making performance. “La Cage,” which opened Sunday at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre, has been imaginatively reconceived by director Terry Johnson… Grammer has a surprisingly sturdy singing voice and an ingratiating stage manner, just right for the calm — well, relatively calm — voice of reason in the chorus of quirky, high-spirited characters who populate Fierstein’s plot of filial devotion.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“Why bring back “La Cage aux Folles” — a major hit musical of the 1983-84 Broadway season, but certainly not a classic like “Gypsy” or “Fiddler on the Roof” — only five years after its first Broadway revival? Especially when that 2004-05 stint proved a tired and unnecessary affair, suggesting that the original production (with its six Tony Awards) was stronger than the material. The producers of this new edition, which premiered at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory in 2007, have a convincing answer: It’s funny, heartwarming and terrific.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“Attending a performance of this La Cage, which opened Sunday at the Longacre Theatre, is a bit like spending an afternoon with an overactive but thoroughly charming child. An import of London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, the production retains one of its original stars: the British trouper Douglas Hodge, who won an Olivier Award for his portrayal of Albi… But if Hodge has some beautifully nuanced moments, he can also milk Zaza’s camp value, and that of the show, to distraction… Fortunately, Grammer settles into a more natural, endearing interpretation, and he and Hodge, for all their winking gestures, capably illustrate the affection and devotion binding this couple. They’re abetted, under Terry Johnson’s giddy direction, by a number of entertaining supporting performances… They all seem to be having a swell time, as will you — so long as you can keep up with them.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“The show, newly revived on Broadway under the thoughtful direction of Terry Johnson, proves to be surprisingly sturdy… Hodge is practically perfect as the fey Albin, a tricky role in which an actor could easily slip into caricature or sentimentality. Hodge manages a careful balance, delivering a performance that is both hilarious and heartfelt; his character is admittedly over the top, but he always feels real. As his partner, the La Cage manager Georges, Kelsey Grammer proves to be an equal partner in carrying the show… Hodge and Grammer provide a solid grounding for the show, but the rest of the cast offers all the flourishes you’d expect from a show rooted in drag performance.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.
“The chorus of six long-limbed drag queens in the latest Broadway revival of Jerry Herman’s “La Cage aux Folles” is half that of two earlier outings… Yet unlike the shrunken revivals of other big Broadway musicals, this one makes sense. Terry Johnson’s smart, tight, rough-edged and slightly tacky production gets closer to the sort of scene one might actually find in a transvestite club on the French Riviera… The box-office draw is Kelsey Grammer, of TV’s “Frasier,” as Georges, the soigne master of ceremonies. The main reason for seeing the show is Douglas Hodge as Albin, the aging headliner and Georges’s partner of 20 years.” Read the full La Cage Aux Folles review.