The Cagelles in "La Cage aux Folles." (Courtesy Paul Kolnik / October 7, 2011)

"I am what I am, I don't want praise, I don't want pity

I bang my own drum; some think it's noise, I think it's pretty

And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle

Why not try to see things from a different angle

Your life is a sham 'til you can shout out loud

I am what I am"

— Zaza, "La Cage aux Folles"


Thousands of sequins and countless yards of lamé are about to be rolled into Segerstrom Hall for the arrival of Jerry Herman's "La Cage aux Folles." Herman also is the composer of such iconic musicals as "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame."

The current Broadway touring production stars George Hamilton as Georges and Christopher Sieber as Albin. Georges manages a night club in Saint-Tropez, where his partner Albin is the starring act as Zaza.

Hilarity ensues when Georges' son from a long-ago tryst, Jean-Michel, brings his fiancee's ultra-conservative family home to meet the parents — her father is the leader of the Tradition, Family and Morality Party.

(Film fans may recognize the plot of "La Cage" from a related film that saw substantial box office success: "The Birdcage.")

Sieber's current song-and-dance role is one of the most demanding on Broadway — only seconded, perhaps, to one of his other breakout roles: that of Lord Farquaad in "Shrek: The Musical," in which the actor performs the entire show on his knees to evidence Farquaad's vertically challenged stature.

Sieber is best known to general audiences as Kevin Burke in the sitcom "Two of a Kind," with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, but has a vast theater pedigree, including originating the role of Sir Dennis Galahad in"Spamalot" on Broadway and in London.

"The thing about 'Shrek' that I love so much is, they were so good to me and let me find so much stuff in my character," he said. "[Creator] David Lindsay-Abaire asked me to collaborate with him. He asked me if I had any good ideas and whatnot. I would just go and do something or say something, and he would say, 'Now that's in the show.' I really helped create a good portion of Farquaad.

"However, I only do shows now that apparently hurt me. 'Spamalot' was joy on earth. For a year and a half, we could not wait for the set to break so we could go out. We got to the theatre an hour early [to socialize]. That was just a heaven cast; that was a miracle cast.

"I really do like my 'Spamalot' and my 'Shrek' and I am enjoying my Zaza, but it really does take your life away. You have to be a good boy, and save your voice, especially for songs like 'I Am What I Am.' 'Shrek' and 'Spamalot are two of my favorite things that I've ever created."

Sieber literally walked into the role of Georges when he first began "La Cage."

"I think I may be the only actor who's played both [leads] during the same show. I was going to go back to the Broadway show of 'Chicago,' playing Billy Flynn, which I had done several years prior. I wasn't familiar with the new show, so I said, lemme get a ticket. I'm in line at the Ambassador Theatre and the phone rings. It's my agent. He says, 'Don't see "Chicago" today; you're going to see "La Cage" today.'

"Harvey Fierstein was playing at the time right across the street at the Longacre. This was right at the time that Jeff Tambor had left because of his hip; I had no idea. Chris Hoch, the understudy, was onstage. I went backstage after the show, and Harvey dragged me into the dressing room. He said, 'Are you gonna do the show? I want you to play Georges opposite me.' Harvey and I have been friends for 20 years. I said yes, and seven days later I'm on Broadway, starring opposite Harvey Fierstein — name above the title, the whole schlemiel.