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‘The best of times is now’

Jose Luaces delivers a hilarious performance as Jacob in the Forestburgh Playhouse production of ‘La Cage aux Folles.’(TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox)

August 20, 2014

Those six words inspired legendary composer Jerry Herman to write a song with that theme for his smash-hit musical “La Cage aux Folles,” currently playing at the Forestburgh Playhouse. Based on the 1978 French-Italian film of the same name, “La Cage” began as a stage play, was transformed into a film (remade in English as “The Birdcage,” starring Robin Williams) and back to the stage again as a musical, with music and lyrics written by Herman, and the story penned by Harvey Fierstein.

In 1984, Herman, who also created “Hello Dolly” and “Mame,” brought home the Tony Award for Best Original Score for “La Cage” and (IMHO) for very good reason. Aside from “Best of Times,” the score is loaded with memorable tunes, including “With Anne on my Arm,” “Look over There,” the title song, and one which has come to be synonymous as an anthem for the LGBT community, the powerful ‘I am what I am.’ Well crafted and highly entertaining, the musical has depth that belies the sugary coating of glitter and glitz that showers the audience with pastels, drag queens and illusions of the mind, heart and spirit.