Having just wrapped up his role as Albin in La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway, Tony and Oliver Award winner Douglas Hodge is on his way back to New York. This time, he's heading to the legendary Café Carlyle for the debut of his cabaret show, which will run from March 15th through March 26th.
BroadwayWorld reporter Nick Orlando spoke with Hodge about his run on Broadway, working with Kelsey Grammer, and what he has planned for his debut engagement.
You are currently in Los Angeles?
Yes, I fly out tonight to New York. I'm on a redeye. I have been in meetings - speaking with people about movies.
How would you sum up your year on Broadway?
I finished four weeks ago. There was a rollercoaster of emotions. I flew that night back to England. As I was sitting on the plane, I was rethinking this past year.
What were your final days like leading up to your departure?
It was an unforgettable year of my life. It was unexpected and thrilling. I'm English and hopeless at goodbyes. I never witnessed anything like this. I have a tradition, which I have been doing for the last six or seven years in London. I take a bow with everyone who has worked on the production - the entire crew, the sound guys, etc. That was moving. People came up to me afterwards and said, "I have worked on Broadway for 50 years and have never taken a bow." It was very emotional and moving.
Is Broadway everything you had imagined it to be?
Yes, I didn't realize the tremendous sense of community. It is inspiring. The entire community works together to achieve a common goal.
What about the experience of winning a Tony?
It is fascinating. I am doing the same exact job, and winning the award in two countries.
What are your plans for your Café Carlyle debut?
I cannot wait! It is the most sophisticated evening you can spend in New York; it is very romantic. I will sing Sinatra, some Garland, some songs from the theatre, country and folk music, possibly stuff from La Cage. Also, I will be singing my own songs that I have written. They have such an intimate room there. I can sit down and speak to the audience, just like we are doing now.
Can you give us some insight as to which songs you will sing from La Cage?
I don't want to give things away, but I will be doing "The Best of Times."
Were you invited to Kelsey's wedding?
He actually asked me to be his best man. We became true friends. His wedding was on my birthday, and I wanted to go back to England. I was only home for ten days over the last year, and wanted to see my family. I was home for two weeks, and then flew to Los Angeles and have been here for two weeks.
Kelsey and I built a great friendship. He is clearly the most generous and uncomplicated person. He sat back and let me take my space - it's a true gift. He has wonderful theatre chops. Kelsey created a launch pad each night for my character to shine.
If the producers approached you about a return to La Cage, would you?
At this point, I am going to say probably not. I felt after a year, I gave it my all. I care so much about this production and am very passionate. The idea of high heels, eyelashes, glue isn't sounding good right now! It's hard being a woman. I want to sneak into a matinee and check out La Cage while I am in New York. I want them to settle in for a bit. I know they weren't off to an easy start.
Were you surprised when hearing that Jeffrey Tambor dropped out?
It was a complete surprise. He left me a wonderful message wishing me luck and then I left him a message telling him that he is in good hands. I'm overprotective of the whole piece and it is important to have this production on Broadway. If people aren't happy, then they should leave. I heard he was unhappy, but I haven't been following it.
What about a return to Broadway?
I would love to do Barnum, but I don't know if that will happen, or a new musical. I had such a wonderful time.
Can you talk to us about Meantime?
It started in England. I've written all of the music, and Aschlin Ditta wrote the book. It was ready to go, but then La Cage took off. It's rare for a new musical to develop on the West End. There is interest to do a full workshop in New York. If things work out, we will be interested in opening it in New York first.