Steel River musical about family, acceptance, and enduring spirit of love

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.

Courtesy of Steel River Playhouse
Courtesy of Steel River Playhouse

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.

Courtesy of Steel River Playhouse
Courtesy of Steel River Playhouse

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.

La Cage Aux Folles now playing at Steel River!

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

Lane!

STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE

245 E. High Street

Pottstown, PA 19464

610-970-1199

www.steelriver.org

 

PHOTO LINK: http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/2142-2/la-cage-photos/

CAST

 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

LES CAGELLES

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

Thursday

7:30 pm

June 6, 13 & 20

Friday

8:00 pm

June 7*, 14 & 21

Saturday

8:00 pm

June 8, 15 & 22

Sunday

3:00 pm

June 9, 16 & 23

Special Events

*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!

 

 

Steel River Playhouse to hold gala honoring Bentleys of VideoRay

Area businesses and community members are invited to celebrate another sensational season of educational and performance programming at Steel River Playhouse, during their Annual Gala on Friday, June 7th at 6:00 pm.

This year’s honorees are Susan and Scott Bentley, philanthropists and principal owners of VideoRay, recently relocated to Pottstown as part of the renaissance of this historic downtown. The celebration also includes recognition of Deborah Stimson-Snow, Steel River’s Artistic Director and recipient of the 2013 Advocacy for Equal Opportunity Award from the PA Human Rights Commission.

Gala highlights include live music, prizes, and delectable treats from Clique Vodka, Lindt Chocolate, Sly Fox Brewery, Sakura Asian Cuisine, Chocolates on Bridge Street, McDougall’s Victory Cakes, Angry Monkey Bakery, Java’s Brewin’, Olde Gold Tavern, Penny’s Pizelle’s, Copperfield’s, Cutillo’s, Baird’s Catering, Moyer’s, Bellewood Golf Club, Grumpy’s, Enzo’s, Positively Pasta Plus, iCreate Café, and Turtle Creek Golf Course, among many other participating restaurants and caterers.

Attendees can choose to attend the Gala only, or pair the Gala with that evening’s performance of the well-loved Broadway hit musical, La Cage aux Folles (curtain 8:00 pm). The story of La Cage is probably most familiar to audiences as the feature film comedy, The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. With popular, hummable melodies by composer Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly, Mame), this Broadway hit wraps contemporary themes in a funny and engaging plot, timeless love songs, and big chorus numbers. The evening concludes outside on the Playhouse plaza, with a building light show and joyful reprise of the La Cage finale with cast, crew and community.

La Cage aux Folles is being sponsored by Exelon. Sponsors for the Annual Gala include Sager & Sager Associates, The Hankin Group, Jackson Cross Partners, Maillie LLP, Andrew J. Monastra, PC, The Hill School, Keller Williams Realty, Main Line Financial Advisors, Neurosurgical Care, O’Donnell Weiss & Mattei, PC, Penn Liberty Bank, Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, PC, Bentley Systems, Inc., David G. Garner, Esquire, Diamond Credit Union, Down to Earth Landscaping, Express Data Systems, Frees Insurance, HMK Insurance, Independence Planning Group, Susan Storb and Michael Horn, Potty Queen, Pottstown Dance Theater, Royal Medical Supply, State Farm – Ricco Insurance, Tri-County Toyota, and Yergey, Daylor, Allebach, Sheffey and Picardi. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mary Beth Kerekes, Development Director, at marybeth@steelriver.org or 610.970.1199.

Gala and La Cage aux Folles tickets are available at www.steelriver.org or by contacting subscriber@steelriver.org or by calling 610.970.1199. Tickets are $75 for Gala paired with La Cage, or $50 for the Gala only. La Cage aux Folles runs for three weekends, June 6th through 23rd with performances on Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, and Sundays 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). Steel River Playhouse is located at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464, www.steelriver.org.

About Steel River Playhouse

Steel River Playhouse, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) charitable education and performance facility, is a key component of the revitalization of downtown Historic Pottstown. Steel River seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Each year, Steel River Playhouse produces more than 90 performances and hosts more than 10,000 people as audiences, students, artists, donors and volunteers from the region and beyond.  www.steelriver.org, 610-970-1199.

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