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It IS the best of times with 'La Cage aux Folles' at Marriott Theatre

★ ★ ★★★

I admit it. I love La Cage aux Folles. It's got belt-it-out anthems and big musical numbers that will have you leaving the theatre with a song in your heart. But in Marriott Theatre’s capable hands, they take the production to a whole new level with magnificent costumes, high-energy dancing and joyful singing.

It’s also appropriate that Marriott Theatre kicks off their 40th anniversary season with one of Broadway’s biggest blockbusters. This 11-time Tony Award-winning musical, the first to win Best Musical three times, runs now through March 22. Set against the glamorous background of a St. Tropez nightclub, Georges and Albin, two men partnered for many years, get the shock of their lives when Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his plans to marry the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician.

Chaos ensues when the two completely opposite families meet and Albin tries to disguise himself as George’s wife. Will he pull it off while still being true to himself? A classic musical comedy, La Cage aux Folles features a glorious score with “The Best of Times,” “I Am What I Am,” and “The Song on the Sand” from none other than Jerry Herman, composer of Hello Dolly and Mame.

Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and inspiration for the popular film, The Birdcage starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, the beloved musical features book by Harvey Fierstein Newsies, Kinky Boots). One can’t help but feel a little bit wistful remembering Robin Williams in the movie saying, “Fosse, Fosse, Fosse.”

The performance is directed by multi-Jeff Award nominee Joe Leonardo. Jeff Award-winner Gene Weygandt stars as “Albin" who is a powerhouse of emotion and song, while David Hess stars as gorgeous “Georges” who tries to placate both his son and Albin, the loves of his life. Choreographer Melissa Zaremba makes her Marriott debut delivering a burst of energy and creativity.

The issues of gender roles, homophobia and family relationships continue to make a statement in this decade. In the end, the play remains a timeless message about being true to yourself and that never grows old.