Please check out this review of Steel River Playhouse’s current musical La Cage aux Folles from guest blogger Parker Blaney. The original 1983 Broadway production of La Cage aux Folles won 6 Tony Awards and it has since won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical twice, the only musical to do so, proving again and again that this story lives on. Thanks for covering it for us, Park!
What a delight it was to see Pottstown’s own Steel River Playhouse production of La Cage aux Folles. I have to confess I usually don’t enjoy musical plays, but this one delightfully breaks all boundaries, in more ways than one! At its heart, this is a story about family, what it means to grow up and thrive in a community of love, and what happens when two families with different ideals are thrust together as the result of young, passionate love.
Within the musical, Albin, a buxom drag queen, played by the wonderful Kirk Lawrence, is the star attraction of a show called La Cage aux Folles; he is also the star of the musical at Steel River. Lawrence’s voice ranges from the purr of a cat that builds to the roar of a wounded, suffering lioness. Georges, played by Robb Hutter, is his husband, and the manager of the show. He tugs at our hearts with his tender ballads of longing, recounting his and Albin’s youthful love.
Their son—who is the biological son of Georges from a previous relationship with a woman—is Jean-Michel, played by David Landstrom. Jean-Michel has fallen desperately in love and wishes to marry Anne, played by Josephine Patane, the daughter of a local conservative politician. That’s where the trouble begins.
Anne’s family demands to meet Jean-Michel’s family, and Jean-Michel doesn’t want Albin, effectively his mother for many years, to meet them out of fear the conservative politician will not only disapprove of their nontraditional family but also discover that Albin is the host of La Cage aux Folles, and thus refuse to give his consent. It is heartbreaking to see the dear, conflicted, vulnerable Albin react to Jean-Michel’s denial of him. This is the heart of the play—will the family defend its members as they are, or hide them away as if they are a kind of social leper? Well, suffice to say that events often run ahead of the best made plans, much to the delight of the audience. The conflict and its resolution are unexpected and yet believable.
Also a show-stopper is the performance of Adam Newborn, who plays Jacob, the “maid.” His mad dashes onto the stage and his frolicking, wild energy take over his scenes. He is simply drop-dead funny. Newborn’s sense of comedic timing is impeccable and seamless. I had the sense I was watching someone special, someone I will see again in a much larger role in the future. Indeed, all of the actors’ performances felt like they came out of a big-time production and not regional theater. Regional theater can sometimes feel slightly amateurish to me, but not here at the Steel River Playhouse.
I can’t remember the last time I felt as wide a range of emotions as I did watching La Cage aux Folles. There are some rather mild sexual situations, but really the meaning of the play, the tension of being who we are versus what society might demand of us, is timeless. Its message never grows old and never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Please, there are only a few more performances of La Cage Aux Folles at Steel River Playhouse in downtown Pottstown. Get your tickets now for an abiding message about love, family and the soaring, enduring spirit of human relationships.
La Cage aux Folles runs for one more weekend, through June 23rd, with performances on Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $15 to $26, with special cabaret seating at $68 for a table for 2 (includes complimentary beverages and snacks). Tickets are available online at http://www.steelriver.org or by calling the box office at 610.970.1199, or at the door when available. Steel River Playhouse is located at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.
“Young racers are getting ready to roll at the annual Soap Box Derby this Saturday. Sponsored by the Pottstown AMBUCS, the event is one of the most popular family events in the area. Crowds gather to watch the young drivers race down the Wilson Street hill.
The Pottstown Soap Box Derby was first run in 1994 and is run on the third Saturday in June every year on Wilson Street between State Street and Farmington Avenue.
Opening ceremonies are at 8:30 a.m. and the first race starts at 9 a.m. Final heats are at 4 p.m.”
This comes to us by way of Alana Mauger at MCCC…
Montgomery County Community College’s University Center will hold an Open House on Thursday, June 20 from 6-8 p.m. at 95 S. Hanover St., Pottstown.
First introduced in 2006, MCCC’s University Center framework offers an entrepreneurial approach to expanding higher education opportunities for residents of Montgomery County and surrounding areas. Through partnerships with select four-year institutions, students can choose from 10 bachelor’s degrees, five master’s degrees, one graduate certificate, two doctorates and six professional development certificates.
Representatives from MCCC’s University Center partners will be available to share information and discuss educational pathways during the open house. Partners include Albright College, which offers programs at MCCC’s campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown; Immaculata University, which offers a Doctor of Education program at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell; and Alvernia University, Chestnut Hill College, Drexel University, Temple University and Villanova University, which offer programs at MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown.
To learn more about MCCC’s University Center initiative and to see the specific programs offered by each institution, visit mc3.edu/academics/university-center.aspx.
A local Pottstown Girl Scout Troop is collecting new or used clothing that can be used as student uniforms in the Pottstown School District, such as white, light blue, or navy polo shirts, turtlenecks, certain sweaters and sweatshirts and navy blue or khaki pants, shorts, skirts, or skorts. All sizes.
All uniforms will be donated to the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities to help children in Pottstown. Victoria Bumstead, who is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Cluster has indicated that uniforms are a huge need for their organization to support children in our community.
For more information about Pottstown’s uniforms, policies, and assistance programs, click here.
The Girl Scouts have drop-off sites at the following locations:
Grumpy’s Sandwich Shop at 137 East High Street
Rich Ranieri’s MAB paints at 218 E. High Street
Mike’s Brick Oven Pizza at 601 N. Charlotte St.
The YMCA at Wilson and North Adams Streets
Pottstown School District Administration Building at 230 Beech Street
and the North End Swim Club.
Please help spread the word!!
Arcadia Publishing, the largest publisher of local history books in the country was great to work with. They came across this blog about a year ago and asked if I’d be interested in profiling “legendary locals,” broadly defined, and things just took off from there.
This was an incredibly cool project. The photographer, Ed Berger, and I met so many amazing Pottstown people, who I can’t thank enough for taking the time to share their stories. This is my first book, so I have to keep pinching myself to make sure this is really happening.
I will keep you updated as book signings/events are held this fall so that the community can hear some of the stories of the people in the book and to get the book into your hands.
Reserve your table at the hottest club in town!
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman; Book by Harvey Fierstein
Open Now! Thursdays thru Sundays
June 6 – 23
Parental Guidance suggested for comedic sexual references
Please note – children under 4 will not be admitted to the performance
Best known as the feature film, The Birdcage,
starring Robin Williams and Nathan
STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE
245 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
Robb Hutter – Georges
Kirk Lawrence – Albin
David Landstrom – Jean-Michel
Adam Newborn – Jacob
Josephine Patane – Anne
Jennifer Dinan – Jacqueline
Brent Adams – Edouard Dindon
Sharon Sigal – Marie Dindon
Hal Holzer – Francis
Zach Reynolds – Chantel
Robb Russ – Monique
Brett Kenna – Dermah
James Barkesdale – Hanna
Troy Cooper – Mercedes
Denise Mann – Angelique
Will Scantling – Phaedra
Taylor Helmers – Nicole
ST. TROPEZ TOWNSPEOPLE
Burt Merriam – M. Renaud
Sharon Brown Ruegsegger – Mme. Renaud
Kendal Conrad – Babette
Charles Delaney – Hercule
Sean Hafer – Etienne/Tobarro
Taylor Helmers – Colette
AJ Sermarini – Young Renaud
Randy Miller – Fisherman
Drew Carr – Fisherman
Sponsored by Exelon Generation
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman; book by Harvey Fierstein
June 6, 13 & 20
June 7*, 14 & 21
June 8, 15 & 22
June 9, 16 & 23
*Annual Gala – Friday, June 7th (6:00 pm, before the show)
Talk-back with cast & crew – Sundays, June 9th & 16th following the show
Tickets (show only; see Gala info below)
ADULT: $26 (Thurs $23)
SENIOR (65+): $23 (Thurs $20)
STUDENT/CHILD: $17 (Thurs $15)
$3 off per ticket for groups of 10 or more!