There’s a new pair of headliners at La Cage aux Folles, and the Tony-winning Broadway revival welcomed members of the press to see Harvey Fierstein and Christopher Sieber lead the cast at the March 23 matinee. Seated dead center in the second row of the Longacre Theatre was one of the show’s original stars, Robin de Jesus, who received a Tony nomination as saucy “maid” Jacob before departing on February 13.
“This is the first time I’ve seen it,” De Jesus told Broadway.com at intermission. “It’s crazy—you never really know what people are doing until you're here [in the audience]. It’s totally fun.” Asked about Fierstein, who had just given a fierce and moving rendition of “I Am What I Am,” Zaza’s first-act closing number, De Jesus said, “He’s wonderful! He’s like a throwback to the old-school divas. He has so much heart, and yet there’s a childlike quality. He’s so funny and so sweet.”
Fierstein, performing the show he wrote in 1983 for the first time, is perfectly matched with two-time Tony nominee Sieber, who joined La Cage as Georges on March 11 after the abrupt departure of Jeffrey Tambor. “He learned this show in nine days,” marveled De Jesus. “He totally came in and saved the day.”
At the curtain call, De Jesus leaped to his feet to salute Chris Hoch, who plays the supporting role of Francis, but had stepped in as Georges until Sieber was cast and ready to perform. Christine Andreas (Jacqueline) blew De Jesus a kiss during her bow, and the former star got a wink and a wave from his replacement, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and Fierstein, who soaked in the standing ovation with Sieber.