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Tony Winner Douglas Hodge on His Cafe Carlyle Debut and Why He Wasn't Kelsey Grammer's Best Man

Tony Winner Douglas Hodge on His Cafe Carlyle Debut and Why He Wasn't Kelsey Grammer's Best Man
Douglas Hodge
Douglas Hodge will make his Cafe Carlyle debut on March 15.

Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge is prepping for what he calls “a quintessentially New York experience,” his debut engagement at Cafe Carlyle March 15-26. “It’s the most sophisticated arrangement: You stay at the Carlyle Hotel, swan down at 8:45 to sing and play the piano, then go back to your room,” Hodge quipped to “It’s an exquisite little [venue], and a wonderful offshoot from doing La Cage on Broadway. It should be thrilling.”

After leaving the role of Albin in La Cage on February 13, Hodge went home to England for a two-week break—and promptly broke his wrist while horsing around with his 11-year-old son. He also missed the much-publicized wedding of his co-star, Kelsey Grammer, on February 25 at the Longacre Theatre. “I wasn’t there because it was my birthday,” explained Hodge, who turned 51. “He asked me to be best man, and I said, ‘I’ve been away for a year, so I’m going home to have my birthday.’”

Hodge acknowledged that La Cage librettist Harvey Fierstein was eager for him to extend his run in the show. “One night, he left 50 bucks and a box of chocolates in my dressing room with a note that said, ‘I’ll give you this if you stay on.’ I left him 51 bucks to take over.’” Once Hodge left, a return—possibly as Georges—was never in the cards. “It wouldn’t be right for me to come back. I’ve done the show, and it’s different and new. I’m going to see it when I’m playing the Carlyle.”

Previewing his cabaret show, Hodge said, “There will be some Sinatra, some Garland, some musical theater, but there will also be some Johnny Cash and even Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder. There isn’t an overall theme to the evening, just songs I can’t wait to sing.” At least a third of the show will be Hodge’s own compositions: The actor released two solo albums before joining La Cage and has composed a musical called Meantime, which he describes as "three love stories across 50 years, set in an airport." The show has had a workshop featuring Broadway couple Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus and is still in development for an American debut.

Hodge spoke about his cabaret debut from Los Angeles, where he’s in the midst of “about 600 meetings; it’s the [TV] pilot season, and I’m talking to people about various films.” Chuckling, he added, “It’s blistering sunshine here and everyone is sitting around the pool. It’s a very different life.”

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