Title: La Cage aux Folles
Artist: New Broadway Cast
Label: PS Classics
Format: Single CD
Case: Standard Jewel Case
Booklet: Full color booklet, with an essay, complete lyrics, credits and dozens of full color production photos.
"The other chief problem I have with this production is co-star Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zsa Zsa. I don't care how many awards he has already won, or the ones he could very well get in the future. His performance in Act One is so over the top - he mugs and prances in a way that Broadway might not have seen since the Benny Hill years. [But then] the Douglas Hodge of Act One is gone, and the award-winning Douglas Hodge is in his place. He has brought the whole Zsa Zsa -as-defense-mechanism thing down about 50 notches, lets his own quirky accent and inflection take over, and he shows amazing depth as an actor. The minute he makes his first entrance in act two, you see a man in pain, devastated by his own child, and still fiercely protective of his whole family. In short, he is family values personified."
And there are other things to praise about this recording:
- It is a more complete documentation of the score.
- There is a good deal of dialogue included, and all of it is well played and helps the CD.
- The orchestra is MUCH better recorded than live.
- The booklet is also first rate - having the lyrics alone is worth opening the jewel case! And the pictures capture a La Cage that you you don't see onstage. As focused and cropped as they are, you'd think this show was a cavalcade of glitz and glamor, rather than a cheapened, pared-down version.
But what was wrong onstage is still as wrong, if not more so on the recording: Douglas Hodge in any of the first 12 tracks. The difference is that the vocals alone make his nutty, over-the-top performance seem even more schizo that it is. Talk about over acting! And it ruins probably my favorite song in the whole show, "A Little More Mascara."
And so the songs that really stand out for me are "Song on the Sand," "La Cage aux Folles" (especially all the terrific lyrics additions and the fact that you can understand every word clear as a bell) and "Look Over There," which makes me tear up just listening to it.
Ultimately, I'll keep playing the Original Cast Recording, and burn a few selected tracks of this one onto my computer. That way I can get a Kelsey fix whenever I need it.
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