Let’s make this short and sweet.
I have seen the ultimate La Cage-show in London with John Barrowman and Simon Burke as Zaza and Georges.
It was clear no other production would ever live up to what those two created with their chemistry, their marvellous voices and their looks. When two truly gifted actors come together, sometimes magic happens and it did at La Cage in London.
It certainly didn’t in New York, even tho the Menier Chocolate Factory took their London production to the big white way. Yes, it’s a nice idea to have luscious drag queens entertain the waiting crowd in front of the theatre. Yes, it’s great to have the Dance Master imported from London (Zaza, komm!) and train the new Cagelles. But neither Douglas Hodge (a great actor) nor Kelsey Grammer have any voice at all. Which is kinda sad when you want to listen to “I am what I am” and get a kind of a sing-talk. “Song of the sand” doesn’t even sound half as good when it’s more or less spoken.
The chemistry between the two main characters was basically non existent and it escaped me why Zaza has been THE most famous Drag Queen at the Cote d’azur ever. mh. All in all – the story is still good, the Cagelles are a hoot, but both leads are less than convincing. Not something I would want to see ever again.
Oh, Kelsey Grammer – famous for his part in Frasier – is going to take on the part of Zaza later on in the NY-run of the show. Him in a dress is probably just as hideous as Douglas Hodge. But the Tony committee obviously saw something more in the play: they gave it and Kelsey Grammer a nomination. shrug. don’t ask me why…
Addendum: at least Grammer didn’t get the Tony he so obviously wanted. It was Douglas Hodge who earned it – and the show as best revival of a Musical. Ah, had it only been with John Barrowman and Simon Burke!