Start spreading the news. We’re not leaving today.
No. People are always telling us we’re not going anywhere and how true this has proved to be.
We were due to have shuffled off our Broadway moniker and headed back to blighty yesterday evening and La Cage Aux Folles was to have been our last theatrical outing.
But an Act of God (or possibly Lord Webber – is there really a difference?) has kept us here for the forseable. So now having spent hour upon hour holding on the phone to Virgin Atlantic we’re so far behind with our posts we’re going out of synch to report on the fabulously glittering opening night of this Menier transfer.
Yes, we tried our hardest to scrub up well for this one. Andrew was so far behind applying one great stroke of Mascara to his rather limp upper lash that Phil was sent ahead to fight his way through throngs outside the Longacre Theatre. But it was all in vain, there was no way the Whingers could compete with the glamorous sights on display at here. It seemed that every drag queen in New York had been bussed in to make this the most dazzling opening night ever.
Anyhoo, after much ballyhoo it turned out the Whingers had been allocated the cabaret table seating at the front of auditorium ($250 a pop if you fancy booking a seat. The Broadway is really very expensive. Although we fortunately weren’t asked to pay for them).
Yes, we practically made our Broadway debut and there was almost as much entertainment to be had watching the audience who seemed in no rush to take there seats but mwah-mwahing. There’s David Hyde Pierce! Is that Leslie Caron? There’s Lady Bunny in such an impossibly high wig she has to be seated in the back row of the orchestra/stalls. Oh and look over there, in the distance, can that really be La Cage producers Sonia Friedman and David Babani seated up there in the balcony? Snicker.
What’s that? Oh, the show. Yes, the show was wonderful still/again. It’s basically the same as the London show but with the addition of roller skates and – of course – Frasier star Kelsey Grammer who makes a very genial nightclub owner Georges. Grammer obviously has a great comedic gift but he never steals scenes. That is the job of Douglas Hodge as Georges’s partner, the ageing drag star Albin/Zsa Zsa. He and Grammer have tremendous on stage chemistry. But in this version the main perpetrator of scenic grand larceny is actually Robin de Jesús (the Puerto Rican actor who played the drag teen in Camp) as butler/maid Jacob whose breathtaking insolence earned him rounds of applause on his exits.
Grammer picked on Phil to flirt with throughout the show for reasons which are a complete mystery to Andrew. Phil was serenaded and had his carefully coiffed hair tousled by Grammer who then went off in the wings presumably to remove the oil slick of product holding Phil’s hair in place.
A rather frail Jerry Herman got on stage at the end to an ovation (of course). It was rather moving.
We won’t go into too much more detail about the show (Read Ben Brantley’s rave review in the New York Times) because frankly we are too excited about the party afterwards at which we met not only Kelsey Grammer, Douglas Hodge, Robin de Jesús, Christine Andreas, and American Pie’s Jason Biggs but wig supremo Mr Richard Mawbey!!!! All were lovely, as was costume designer Matthew Wright. Phil was of course carried away with it all, introducing himself to everyone as “Kelsey’s bitch” even asking Grammer if he could bunk up at his place.
There’s a funny sort of Blitz spirit between the Brits stranded in New York at the moment although despite us dropping some quite heavy hints to producer Sonia Friedman the Blitz spirit did not extend to putting the Whingers up in her apartment.
In other news: David Babani scrubbed up very well. We’ve never seen him look so smart. We met one of the producers of the original production of La Cage Aux Folles. Johnny Fox and Steve On Broadway and his partner Doug were there. Everyone was lovely The drink was free and the buffet bottomless. This really is the life. All lovely. We are going to give up shows and just go to parties from now on. We are being treated like minor Royalty and Phil is looking more like the Duchess of Windsor every day.
Ovationage: 100% (the Whingers being at the front needn’t have stood but for once it was completely deserved).
General showing off