Vodka Stinger — the tempestuous siren from Wednesday nights at Pieces — actually caught Broadway’s La Cage aux Folles revival co-starring Jeffrey Tambor, before Tambor quit because he basically froze in front of the audience like Elaine Stritch’s margarita glass.
Here is Vodka’s hilarious firsthand report of the performance:
“The overture started and I was immediately underwhelmed by what sounded like a two-piece orchestra. Then, from stage right, wandering out with the stage presence of a lost homeless woman came Jeffrey Tambor (who I love on TV).
“I would say he looked uncomfortable, under-rehearsed, and terrified to be there. Instead of presenting himself like the owner of a posh night club, he seemed like a community theater actor who had been thrown into the role with no idea what show he was in.
“He stumbled through the beginning nervously and finally introduced the Cagelles, who were as feminine as Chaz Bono, and with only five of them it looked like most of the cast had called in sick so they grabbed some beefy sailors off a dock somewhere, threw a wig on them, and said ‘Dance, bitch.’
“The show looks cheap, it sounds cheap, the whole thing is very dinner theater. Harvey Fierstein had more charm than anyone else, though he also seemed not ready to be in front of a paying audience. But at least he had fun in the part! Tambor and Fierstein had chemistry like Sarah Palin would have with a wolf.
“The book scenes were almost impossible to watch (PICK UP YOUR CUES!!!). The ‘slapstick’ blocking was a mess. Was that the guy who won a Tony for Rent in the Agador Spartacus role?? Someone take back that award!
“Tambor sang nicely and was trying so hard to be in the moment, but it all seemed like too much for him to handle.
“Broadway veteran Christine Andreas pops up in a two-line cameo. Fierstein sounds like a talking ashtray in a Disney movie, but manages to sell his songs. Although by the time we got to ‘I Am What I Am,’ I closed my eyes and thought of Shirley Bassey. It’s a musical, after all. It would have been nice to hear singers.
“By the end of the show I had covered my face more times than I do during an episode of Glee, because it was embarrassing to watch grownups in a child’s production.
“This was not ‘The Best of Times’, especially for anyone who bought a full price ticket.”
Fortunately, Vodka got in free. (And poor Tambor, by the way, was recovering from hip surgery. And I have to say I’ve always loved Harvey’s musicality and star presence.)
Anyway, for more of Vodka’s musings, check out her stunning blog summation of the legend of Gypsy Rose Lee.
Now that broad knew how to wear feathers!