Have yourself a gayer little Christmas | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Have yourself a gayer little Christmas 

George Hamilton is game, but it's Christopher Sieber who brightens La Cage aux Folles's holiday stand here

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George Hamilton gets first billing in promos for this touring revival of the 1983 Jerry Herman/Harvey Fierstein musical. But he's more like an avuncular guest than a star, ambling around, taking an interest, doing good-natured comic bits, offering an endearing shuffle as a substitute for dancing. It hardly matters that he strays off pitch whenever he has to hold a note, or that he doesn't exactly seem to be acting from his soul. It's just nice to see him looking so fit, tan, alert, and jolly at 72.

The real star is Christopher Sieber, who's seriously fabulous.

Based on a play by Jean Poiret, La Cage tells the tale of Albin and Georges, an aging gay couple who own a nightclub—La Cage aux Folles—in Saint-Tropez. Albin is a transvestite diva who, as "Zaza," headlines Vegas-style floor shows at the club; Georges is Albin's straight-dressing mate whose main job seems to be managing Albin's larger-than-life moods. They get involved in high jinks that have them posing as prim heteros—but, like Hamilton's singing and acting, that hardly matters. What matters is that Sieber gives us an Albin who's both a hoot and very much a human, taking absolute control of the stage yet—and this is important—never stepping on Hamilton's Georges. Between his generous, touching performance, his wild line readings, his extraordinary physicality, and his vivid renditions of tunes from a surprisingly strong score, Sieber makes this show a great way to get festive without getting all Christmas-y about it.

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