La Cage Aux Folles
(New Broadway Cast Recording) (PS Classics)
It's taken a few months for the Tony Award-winning revival of the beloved Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical to make it to disc, but the wait has been well worth it. This immaculately produced disc not only preserves Douglas Hodge's Tony Award-winning performance as Albin/Zaza and Kelsey Grammer's Tony-nominated turn as Georges, but it also captures the show's bountiful heart and humor.
The running time for the 22 -track album is just 15 minutes longer than the 1983 Original Broadway Cast recording, but the added time is significant. Portions of dialogue are included (which give listeners a sense of the show's arc) along with reprises and the musical's many extended dance sequences. And, in the latter case, given Jason Carr's witty and robust orchestrations (which sound fantastic on this well-mixed disc), the extra music is most welcome.
Hodge's mercurial and oh-so-overly dramatic performance is exquisitely captured, and it's rough not to laugh as he channels some of the grande dames of the stage and screen. Grammer's vocals, although a little rougher than they were early in the show's run, have an unquestionable suave urbanity. What's more important is that the affection that the two performers instill in the characters for one another is entirely palpable on the recording.
Alongside these performers are a host of memorable supporting turns, including Christine Andreas' flamboyant performance as restaurateur Jacqueline and A.J. Shively's sweetly charming work as the men's son, Jean-Michel. As for the six indefatigable singer-dancers who play the Cagelles, the drag queens at the club Georges and Albin run: their grit and glamour captivates not just on the stage but on this recording as well. Furthermore, the pictures in the handsome full-color book (complete with lyrics) that accompanies the disc brings the world of Terry Johnson's revival remarkably to life.