'La Cage' onstage at ASU Gammage - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

'La Cage' onstage at ASU Gammage

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Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:00 am

Broadway star Christopher Sieber dons a wig, heels and corset as the main attraction of a drag club in the revival of the musical “La Cage Aux Folles.”

And for the first several weeks, Sieber felt pain as he sang and danced his way through the show in many of the costumes.

“Yeah, it’s pretty rough sometimes because I hurt everywhere,” said Sieber with a laugh. “Then some of my aches and pains get better, then you begin to feel it somewhere else.”

Sieber portrays the role of Albin in the national tour of “La Cage Aux Folles,” which opens Tuesday at Arizona State University Gammage Auditorium.

“I’m having a blast with this tour and show that’s big and splashy and shows it doesn’t matter who you love and that anyone can be a family,” said Sieber, calling from a tour stop in Memphis, Tenn.

Based on the 1973 French play, the musical centers on a gay couple, a manager of a night club featuring drag entertainment named Georges and his main star and partner, Albin. The fun begins when their son brings his fiancee and her conservative parents to meet them.

For Sieber, the former Monty Python “Spamalot” star, the show also could relate to today’s attitudes toward marriage equality.

“It’s important to have the message out there with a show like this,” said Sieber, who recently married his longtime partner. “I’m tired of being used as a political football and folks quoting Bible verses and judging us.”

Sieber joked it’s one of the reasons he chose to marry his partner.

“Originally, we got married to destroy the fabric of this country but had to settle with the fact that we love one another,” he said with a chuckle.

The original 1983 production won six Tony Awards and was revived in 2004 and later again in 2010 on Broadway with Kelsey Grammer.

The current national tour is the 2010 Tony-winning revival with Sieber and George Hamilton.

Jerry Herman, who is responsible for “Hello Dolly” and “Mame,” wrote the music for the show, which includes “We Are What We Are,” “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times.”

“(Herman) has written some of the best earworms that you’ve ever heard in musical theater as far as lyrics and music goes,” Sieber said.

Last year, Sieber performed in the Broadway production when he stepped in with a only a week’s rehearsal to replace actor Jeffrey Tambor, who injured himself.

He played the role of Georges but was offered Albin for the tour. He jumped at the opportunity to play the role that required him “to be outrageous.”

But he’s not a stranger to over-the-top characters, recently playing the evil and very short Lord Farquaad in the stage version of “Shrek.” He spent most of the time walking on his knees during the role, which earned him a Tony nomination.

“It felt like I was doing the show with my legs cut off eight times a week,” he said. “But I’m your guy when it comes to roles like this, where you can make them over-the-top but believable at the same time, because it is important to tell the truth.”

IF YOU GO

What: “La Cage Aux Folles”

When: Opens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Show runs through Sunday

Where: ASU Gammage Auditorium, 1200 S. Forest Drive, Tempe.

Cost: $27.40 to $79.35.

Information: (480) 965-3434 or www.asugammage.com

• Mitchell Vantrease may be reached at 623-876-2526 or mvantrease@yourwestvalley.com.

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