The newly formed theatre organization, BAY AREA MUSICALS! is closing its inaugural season with multiple Tony Award winning play, La Cage Aux Folles. The show written by Harvey Fierstein (book) and Jerry Herman (music and lyrics) revolves around Georges (Clay David), the owner of Saint-Tropez drag cabaret “La Cage Aux Folles”, his lover Albin (Michael RJ Campbell) who is also the clubs headliner as Zaza, and his son Jean-Michel (Jack O’Reilly) who’s recently announced his engagement to Anne Dindon (Bessie Zolno), daughter of hypocrite politician Edouard Dindon (Cameron Weston).
We see the relationship between Georges and Albin/Zaza and how sometimes it affects showtime. Zaza is being begged to go onstage as the other performers are using delay tactics to keep the audience entertained. Georges brings the tenderness level up to a ten to ensure his Albin, that his wishes will be honored and then, Zaza goes on to rounds of applause. We see many loving moments between the two throughout the show which is still taboo for some audience members. A family in front of me had an unpleasant discussion during intermission but luckily stayed to the end. The son was upset by the choice even though he could be seen chuckling many times. Even in theatre it’s rare to have a story center around a couple from the LGBT community. The other element of this story revolves around Jean-Michel and the fact that he was raised by both of them. He’s about to take a big step in his life and doesn’t want Albin (who raised him) there, why?
Jean-Michel is concerned with impressing Anne’s parents who portray themselves as a traditional, good, wholesome family. He says that Anne is not like her parents but he’s still eager for their blessings. He requests that Georges invite his biological mother to the family dinner and tell Albin why he “can’t” have him there. He also wanted the decor changed to more “appropriate” ones. When we finally meet Mr. Dindon, we find that he’s extremely disrespectful to his wife Marie (Mary Gibboney). He bosses her around and dismisses her frequently, which is not the definition of a wholesome family in my book. His platform centers around shutting down all places his followers deem sinful and not family-friendly, like a cabaret with drag queens.
After much hesitation, Georges finally tells Albin the situation and of course he doesn’t take it well. The boy he raised is ashamed of him and admits to past embarrassments he never mentioned in his youth. Albin has always been there while Jean-Michel’s biological mom has never been and ends up cancelling once again at the last minute. Despite the emotional blow to Albin, he steps up to the plate to help Jean-Michel out but I’ll leave it at that. You have to go watch the show to see what love can sometimes make you do. It’s a story of how we sometimes take for granted those that love us for those that merely surround us. It’s also important to be true to ourselves and live our lives authentically as Albin/Zaza does without question.
I’d also like to mention that David was in character as soon as one entered the door. He welcomed audience members to La Cage Aux Folles and took selfies with a few. He stood out for me, as some of the other actors seem to struggle with their character accents. However, he and Campbell had great chemistry together. I could see them performing together again in a future show! The score includes such songs as “The Best of Times is Now”, “Song In the Sand”, “La Cage Aux Folles”, and “I Am What I Am.” Go watch it! You only have one weekend left.
Direction and Choreography by Matthew McCoy
Musical Direction by Jon Gallo
2961 16TH STREET
San Francisco, CA 94103
Evening Performances: Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays at 8:00PM
Matinee Performances: Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00PM
Closing: Sunday, July 31st at 2:00PM
Tickets available at the box office or online: http://www.bamsf.org/boxoffice