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.

Get discounted tickets to BECKY SHAW at Steel River TONIGHT!

COME TO THE POSITIVELY POTTSTOWN HAPPY HOUR TONIGHT TO GET $3 OFF YOUR TICKETS TO THE PLAY, BECKY SHAW TONIGHT ONLY – AT STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE

After 28 events since October 2010, the Positively Pottstown Happy Hour is taking a break!

Wanna get happy one more time with your Pottstown peeps?

Meet at Steel River Playhouse on Friday, April 19th from 5-7 pm

for food by Grumpy’s, Company Cakes and The Milkman Lunch Co. and Cake Shoppe, fun, complimentary refreshments and networking, all for the same low suggested donation of $5.

Get $3 off tickets to the drama BECKY SHAW, on April 19th only!

Show begins at 8 pm! BECKY SHAW is a brisk, scathingly funny, and contemporary look at dating, marriage and the foibles of relationships. Now, that sounds like fun!

Get tix at the Happy Hour or online at http://www.steelriver.org.

Type in Positively Pottstown for the Promotion Code.

 RSVP this minute to positivelypottstown@gmail.com!

Happiness abounds at Steel River Playhouse

Final Curtain for Positively Pottstown Happy Hour!

After 28 events since October 2010, the Positively Pottstown Happy Hour is taking a break!

Wanna get happy one more time with your Pottstown peeps?

Meet at Steel River Playhouse on Friday, April 19th from 5-7 pm

for food, fun, complimentary refreshments and networking, all for same low suggested donation of $5.

Get $3 off tickets to the drama BECKY SHAW, on April 17th only!

Show begins at 8 pm! Becky Shaw is a brisk, scathingly funny, and contemporary look at dating, marriage and the foibles of relationships. Now, that sounds like fun!

Get tix at the Happy Hour or online at http://www.steelriver.org. Type in Positively Pottstown for the Promotion Code.

 RSVP now to positivelypottstown@gmail.com!

Celebrate Life! Senior Follies this afternoon at 3 pm at Steel River

STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS

Follies – Celebrate Life!
One Weekend Only – Saturday & Sunday (April 6 – 7)

  • Saturday Curtain Time  – 3:00PM
  • Sunday Curtain Time    – 3:00PM

Tickets for Senior Follies are $12 – Adults; $10 – Seniors; and $8 – Students and Children.  Get TIX HERE

Thinking about joining Senior Follies? Here’s what it’s all about:

Presentations reflect participants’ unique talents and may include a variety of disciplines such as comedy skits, dramatic readings, singing, playing instruments, dancing, writing, or set and costume design.  There is room for all talents, both onstage and off!  You can get help developing an act or sign up to help design sets and costumes, or work backstage. Discover what works for you! Whether you are a seasoned performer or you have yet to find your individual artistic niche, now is the time to explore the creative process!

To sign up, call the Steel River Playhouse at 610.970.1199 or email Education Director, Steve Reazor at steve@steelriver.org.

Check out opening night NY Deli-style Reception at Steel River TONIGHT!

At the official opening of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers at Steel River Playhouse this Friday, stars will align. Limerick native Lisa Waltz, a member of Steel River’s Board of Directors, and her family’s Limerick-based Waltz Golf Farm and Turtle Creek Golf Course, are sponsoring the New York-deli-style Opening Night Reception.

Lisa’s busy schedule as an stage, film and television actor keeps her from attending.  However, Lost in Yonkers Director, and Lisa’s Broadway co-star and friend, Brian Drillinger, will be signing autographs at the Reception and all four performances this weekend.   Performances start with the Thursday, March 7, 7:30PM preview.

Lisa and Brian were on Broadway together in Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, and again joined forces for the National Tour, and the feature film version. In fact, it was Lisa who first introduced Brian, her LA neighbor, to Steel River Playhouse to direct Almost, Maine. By the way, 30 lucky audience members will win free passes to miniature golf or Steel River T-shirts.  Lost in Yonkers will be performed Thursdays through Sundays from March 7-24.  More information and tickets at http://www.steelriver.org or call 610.970-1199.

Planning Information

Steel River is located at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. Visit http://www.steelriver.org or call 610.970.1199.

Lost in Yonkers will be performed Thursdays through Sundays from March 7-24

  • Thursdays, March 7, 14 and 21 at 7:30PM
  • Fridays, March 8, 15, 22 at 8:00PM
  • Saturdays, March 9, 16, 23 at 8:00PM
  • Sundays, March 10, 17, 24 at 3:00PM

Ticket prices

  • Thursdays – $20-$15
  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – $23-$17
  • Groups of 10 or more – $3 off per ticket
  • Buy online or at box office – same price

Special Events

Friday, March 7th – Opening Night Reception with the cast and crew!

Sunday, March 10 – Talkback with the cast and crew – an opportunity for audience members to ask questions and discuss the play.

About Brian Drillinger, Director

Brian played “Stan” in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway, in the feature film, and in the National Tour, and in the National Tour of Broadway Bound.  He originated the role of Jason Posner in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit at South Coast Repertory (also Seattle Repertory and the Alley Theatre in Houston), among many other regional lead acting credits.  Television credits include: The Agency, Wings, Life Goes On, Reasonable Doubts, and General Hospital. Brian starred opposite Sally Kirkland in the indie feature Starry Night, and Janeane Garofalo in I Shot a Man in Vegas.

Brian co-wrote, produced and stars in the feature film version of How to Go Out on a Date in Queens, for which he won Best Supporting Actor at the LA Indie Awards 2006. The film also stars Jason Alexander, Kimberly Williams, Rob Estes, Ron Perlman and Esai Morales.  Recently, he produced and stars in Hello Herman, which premiered at the 2012 Hollywood Film Festival.

Brian is a founder and the Creative Director of Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, CA, home of the Acting Studio at Edgemar (formerly the Larry Moss Studio). He teaches classes in scene study, cold reading, voice, on-camera, voice, and accent reduction. As a visiting artist he has taught classes in voice and scene study in Melbourne, AU and for Steel River. Judy Kerr lists him as a “Recommended Acting Coach” in the industry guidebook, Acting Is Everything.

He directed the first Edgemar benefit event that was hosted by Jason Alexander and included  Hilary Swank, Michael Clarke Duncan, Sally Kellerman, Chad Lowe and many others.  Also at Edgemar, Brian directed The House of Yes, Chip Chop and It Must be Him. Other directing credits include Almost, Maine for the Steel River Playhouse in PA and at the Gasworks Theatre in Melbourne, AU, and The Dreamer Examines his Pillow at The Complex in Los Angeles, CA.

About Steel River Playhouse

Formerly Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC), Steel River Playhouse, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable education and performance facility that 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 throughout the region.  It offers performance opportunities through open auditions; theater technical training; acting, voice, and instrumental lessons; classes and workshops for all ages; summer camp programs; and educational outreach including scholarships, artists in the classroom, traveling children’s shows, study guides, and other audience engagement initiatives. For further information, visit http://www.steelriver.org, or call 610-970-1199.

 

Emperor’s New Clothes at Steel River this weekend only!

Please scroll all the way down for news of other shows and classes available at Steel River Playhouse, 254 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA.

This Weekend Only – All Matinees!

EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES (musical)

Saturday, January 19th – 11:00 am & 3:00 pm

Sunday, January 20th – 3:00 pm

This season’s Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) production is Emperor’sNew Clothes, the witty, whimsical musical rendition of the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, winner of the 2011 National Children’s Theatre Festival Competition. TYA productions are shorter-duration and age-appropriate for elementary school students, but fun for everyone!

Special note for teachers and administrators considering special school-day performances to be scheduled Jan through May: contactwarren@steelriver.org for your complimentary ticket to a public performance Jan 19th or 20th.

EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

Saturday, Jan 19th

11:00 am

3:00 pm

Sunday, Jan 20th

3:00 pm

Tickets

ADULT: $17

SENIOR (65+): $15

STUDENT/CHILD: $13

$3 off per ticket for groups of 10 or more!

BUY ON-LINE; SAME PRICE AS PHONE OR BOX  OFFICE!

http://www.steelriver.org/2012/12/show-especially-for-young-audiences/

A Beautiful Play!

INTIMATE APPAREL (award winning play by Lynn Nottage)

Two Weekends Only – February 1st thru 10th

Fridays through Sundays

Directed by Alana Campbell Is there a more apt metaphor for our own dreams and fantasies than intimate apparel? Esther is an illiterate African American seamstress in the early 1900’s New York who enjoys an unusual window into the lives of her clients. While creating exquisite lingerie for socialites and prostitutes alike, she is privy to their most private wishes and disappointments. As Esther observes for one client, “What she got, you want, and what you got, she want.” Esther, however, also must consider her own dreams for love, marriage and a better life. An award-winning period piece which premiered in 2003, the play is full of engaging historical and cultural detail, strong storytelling, and Esther’s inspiring search for love and fulfillment.

INTIMATE APPAREL (play by Lynn Nottage)

Fridays

Feb 1 & 8

8:00 pm

Saturdays

Feb 2 & 9

8:00 pm

Sundays

Feb 3 & 10

3:00 pm

Tickets

ADULT: $19

SENIOR (65+): $17

STUDENT/CHILD: $15

$3 off per ticket for groups of 10 or more!

BUY ON-LINE; SAME PRICE AS PHONE OR BOX  OFFICE!

It’s Not too Late!

CLASSES& PRIVATE LESSONS

Group Classes

Acting, Comedy Improv, Getting Ready to Sing, Character in Song, and more!

Performance Troupes – Intermission Players, Act I Players and more!

Private Lessons

Voice, Piano, Acting, Guitar, Flute, Trumpet

Audition and Monologue Coaching

For more information, email Steve Reazor, Education Director

steve@steelriver.org or call 610.970.1199

Save the Date – Feb 16!

VALENTINE CABARET WITH LYRIC FEST!

Saturday February 16th

Bring your sweetheart to this special cabaret presentation with this premiere Philadelphia-based vocal group, featuring Pottstown’s very own Maggie Moliterno Riker–

Includes yummy refreshments.

Save the date – more info coming soon!

STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE

245 E. High Street

Pottstown, PA 19464

610.970.1199

www.steelriver.org

N-Crowd Brings Improv Comedy to Steel River Playhouse

Comedy is best shared, because laughter is contagious.

N Crowd are short-form improv comedy specialists.  This form really engages audiences who provide ideas throughout the show.  The comedians work audience contributions into on-the-spot sketches.  Bring your friends and help create a great audience!

About N Crowd

Named Best Comedy Club in 2008 and 2010 by City Voters Hot List, N Crowd’s troupe, founded in 2005, performs every Friday at its Philadelphia club.  It has entertained more than 400 audiences in the region, including  three previous shows at Steel River Playhouse and  appearances at Philadelphia Improv Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, and yearly at the Philly Fringe Festival.  At its weekly shows, and Steel River, N Crowd produces about 80 minutes of completely unscripted comedy.   Every show is different. 

Photo courtesy of Steel River Playhouse
Photo courtesy of Steel River Playhouse

Planning Information
There is one show only!  N Crowd will perform at Steel River Playhouse on Saturday, January 12 at 8PM.  For tickets, http://www.steelriver.org/.

For more information, http://www.phillyncrowd.com. 

 Single Ticket Prices      

Adult  – $17

Senior (65+) – $15

Student/Child – $13

  • Groups of      10 or more – $3 off per ticket
  • Buy online or at box office – same price

One night only, Saturday, January 12, 8PM!

 About Steel River Playhouse

Formerly Tri-County Performing Arts Center (Tri-PAC), Steel River Playhouse, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, 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, the Steel River Playhouse produces more than 90 performances and hosts more than 10,000 people as audiences, students, artists, donors and volunteers from throughout the region. We offer performance opportunities through open auditions; theater technical training; acting, voice, and instrumental lessons; classes and workshops for all ages; summer camp programs; and educational outreach including scholarships, artists in the classroom, traveling children’s shows, and other initiatives. For further information, visit http://www.steelriver.org/, or call 610-970-1199.

 

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