|Photo courtesy of Henneping Theater Trust|
Christopher Sieber is ready for his homecoming.
Twenty-some years ago, the actor left his boyhood home in Forest Lake and took a plane to New York to see if he could make it on a big stage. Since then, he's certainly proved that in numerous turns on Broadway. Now, he's back in the cities for a week-long run at the State Theatre with the touring company of La Cage Aux Folles.
Sieber plays Albin, the cross-dressing star of the San-Tropez
nightclub run by his partner, Georges (played on tour by Lord of the
Tan, George Hamilton).
"I was kind of the
class clown and turned it into a career," he says. "I knew I wanted to be
an actor early on and I knew I had some chops."
Sieber credits his teachers at Forest Lake High School for seeing his talent, and the actors he worked with early in his career for honing it. "The people I worked with were the best teachers," he says.
He learned his lessons well. Sieber has performed steadily in the years since, earned a pair of Tony nominations (for featured actor in Spamalot
and Shrek: The Musical
) and performed alongside the Olsen Twins on Two of a Kind
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
|Les Cagelles from La Cage Aux Folles.|
"The business is hard. People think it is so fun and easy, but it's not. It's our job to make it look easy. You are always auditioning, always going to the next thing. You are never set," he says. "It is ultimately exciting to hold the audience in the palm of your hand."
Sieber already has experience with this production of La Cage. Earlier in the year, he replaced Jeffrey Tambor in the role of Georges, playing opposite Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book of the musical (Jerry Herman provided the songs).
"I was about to go into the show Chicago as Billy Flynn, and I was in line to buy tickets to it to review the production when my phone rings. It was my agent, who told me I wasn't going to see Chicago; I was going to see La Cage. And that Harvey wanted to see me," Sieber says.
Sieber was offered the job on a Sunday, began rehearsals that Thursday, and was on stage the following week. Playing in the show, alongside one of the creators, was invaluable experience, he says.
"It was thrilling to be on stage with the author and to see how he wanted the lines said. I know the way that he wants it to be done," Sieber adds.
The show's revival -- it was first staged in 1983 and has been restaged multiple times since -- started in London before transferring to Broadway. It was crafted originally as a smaller-scale vision of the original, first playing in a 180-seat theater before making transfers to the West End and Broadway. The tour will bring the scale up again. Sieber is hopeful the tour will still retain the original's intimate feel.
And in an era of rancorous debate about gay marriage, a play about two men finding long-lasting love is a good thing to have on stage.
"There is a hidden message in there about family and love. Even the guys who get dragged there by their wives will get the message," Sieber says.