La Cage: Jeffrey Tambor withdraws from show

Jeffrey Tambor has withdrawn from the Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles, following the 24 Feb 2011 performance. Tambor started performances on 15 Feb in the role of 'Georges,' opposite four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein as 'Albin.'

Chris Hoch, who regularly plays the role of 'Francis' and understudies the role of 'Georges,' will play 'Georges' opposite Fierstein at tonight’s performance 25 Feb 2011.

Casting for the role of 'Georges' will be announced soon.

The show's producers said, “Jeffrey Tambor was experiencing complications from recent hip surgery and the pain and the challenge of performing in a musical eight times a week proved to be too physically demanding. We respect his talent enormously and regretfully accept his withdrawal from the production.”

However, Michael Riedel of the New York Post was reporting on the morning of 25 Feb 2011, just hours before the announcement that Tambor was leaving the musical, that the star was stuggling vocally, and complaining that the producers do not have faith in him.

According to Riedel, Tambor did fine during rehearsals, but seemed to lose confidence once he was in front of a live audience; "Hitting notes in some of Jerry Herman's lovely ballads that aren't found anywhere on the traditional Western scale."

It would appear that a combination of lack of confidence in his vocal ability, and discomfort from his recent hip surgery have conspired against the Tambor and has led to his withdrawal.

Four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Albin) and six-time Emmy Award nominee Jeffrey Tambor (Georges) assumed the lead roles of the Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles on 15 Feb 2011 replacing original stars Douglas Hodg and Kelsey Grammer, respectively.

La Cage aux Folles features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the play by Jean Poiret. This production is choreographed by Lynne Page and directed by Terry Johnson, who won a 2010 Tony Award for his direction.

La Cage aux Folles opened at the Longacre Theatre on 18 Apr 2010, following previews from 6 Mar, and is currently selling tickets through to 3 Jul 2011.

The musical opened to excellent reviews: A Wild success (newyorktheatreguide); Warm, winning production (NY Times); Emotionally affecting (AP) Funny, heartwarming and terrific (Variety).

The musical currently stars Harvey Fierstein as 'Albin,' Mike McShane as 'M. Dindon/M. Renaud,' Alyce Beasley as 'Mme. Dindon/Mme. Renaud,' *Chris Hoch as 'Francis,' Elena Shaddow as 'Anne,' A.J. Shively as 'Jean-Michel,' Christine Andreas as 'Jacqueline,' Wilson Jermaine Heredia as 'Jacob,' Heather Lindell as 'Colette,' Michael Lowney as 'Etienne' and Bruce Winant as 'Tabarro.'
*Chris Hoch is temporarily playing 'Georges'.

Also starring as the Cagelles are Matt Anctil as 'Angelique,' Nicholas Cunningham as 'Hanna,' Sean Patrick Doyle as 'Chantal,' Yurel Echezarreta as 'Phaedra,' Logan Keslar as 'Bitelle' and Terry Lavell as 'Mercedes.' The production also features Christopher Caballero, Todd Lattimore, Dale Hensley, Caitlin Mundth and Cheryl Stern.

La Cage aux Folles: Georges is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club on the French Riviera. Partnered romantically with his high-strung star performer, Albin, the pair live a charmed life—until Georges’ son announces his engagement to the daughter of a conservative right-wing politician who’s coming to dinner.

The musical won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, as well as Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and Best Director of a Musical (Terry Johnson).

The creative team features set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Matthew Wright, lighting design by Nick Richings and sound design by Jonathan Deans.

The show is produced on Broadway by Sonia Friedman, The Menier Chocolate Factory, Fran Weissler, Barry Weissler and Robert Bartner/Norman Tulchin.

La Cage aux Folles played from 23 Nov 2007 to 8 Mar 2008 at the Menier Chocolate Factory, before transferring to the West End’s Playhouse Theatre on 30 Oct 2008, where it was nominated for seven 2009 Olivier Awards, winning for Best Musical Revival and Best Actor in a Musical for Douglas Hodge and won the 2009 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical.

Jeffrey Tambor