August 2, 2009

La Cage Week 1

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:40 am

For a complete change of pace, our final show of the season is La Cage aux Folles. It’s a small, fast-paced show, where the men are women, the women are women, and I can actually do a head-count in rehearsal without losing track (we have 33).

There are no super-celebrities in this one, just a bunch of guys who know absolutely everything about this show. Our director, David Scala, and our Albin, David Engel, were both original cast members who did the whole 4-year Broadway run. Our Georges, Jamie Ross (who was also an amazing Vandergelder in Dolly earlier in the season) did the role on Broadway at some point. The rehearsal room is filled with 25-year-old backstage gossip, tales of things that were cut in Boston, anecdotes and history, and offhand statements like, “Whenever I would do this scene with George [Hearn]…” that bring a wealth of experience and depth to our little production, and are just plain fun to hear about.

Most Reagle productions are staged by or star people who have done their roles on Broadway or in high-profile productions, but the ones I love best are those that are really intimately connected to the original productions. It’s not just about setting the show with the original choreography and design, but getting a living theatrical history lesson in the process of creating the show. It’s like reading one of those books about the making of a show, except it’s more like having the commentary running on a DVD, and you can ask questions back!

We’re almost done with our first week, and although David is both directing and choreographing, we’re making great progress. Act I, which is far more complicated, will be completed today. Our principals are all wonderfully cast, the Cagelles are amazing dancers (and actors), and our singers are top-notch as always. It’s going to be a lot of fun going through this process.