Robin De Jesus: La Cage Interview

And how does is change the dynamic of the show when you have someone like Kelsey Grammer in the mix. Does that change any of the vibe?

Honestly, it's all up to the person. There are people who go 'Oh my God, I'm doing a show with a star and I'm wigging out,' and what if this person's a total diva? yadda yadda. And that was not the case, and I was actually concerned about it, because I'm one of those people that I will never let anyone think that they can treat me poorly, you know?

So I always worry about what would happen, but it's stupid for me to worry about something before it happens, and Katie Finneran, who's in Promises Promises, was like 'Kelsey is so sweet, he's so great,' so she eased my mind.

And, after rehearsals, I was totally cool with it, and Kelsey totally was really chill, and jokes around with us, and we all have a good time. It's interesting, because of the way the show is designed, I don't really see Kelsey or Doug unless I'm onstage. I rarely see them offstage, just because of all the quick changes and everything.

We just never cross, or rarely. I think I see Kelsey backstage twice. Wait, that's a lie, three times! I see him in the opening number. I see him in the top of act two. And I see him after the musical number, Mascara, where he exits, but then crosses to the other side. Those are the three times I see Kelsey backstage, and that's it. It's crazy.

I've seen pictures of him online signing and all, not just jumping into the limo, so he seemed like he was cool with it all...

He's totally cool, and we actually do a, this is a tradition that I brought over that someone started at In The Heights, where we do a prayer circle, and Kelsey always joins us. And then we have another little tradition on top of it, afterwards, to get us excited and, afterwards, Kelsey grabs all the Cagelles' breasts, so right after we pray and do our little thing, Kelsey grabs all our boobies. (laughs)

And, just so I don't make assumptions, given our readers may not have even seen The Birdcage, since it's been a while, so can you quickly describe your role and how you fit into the mix?

Sure, I play Jacob, the maid. He's sort-of the maid, but he's really Zaza's, the star of the nightclub's, assistant. But George, which is the role Kelsey Grammer plays, thinks he hired a butler, someone to cook and clean. And, while he may have hired me to do that, I never do that.

I'm that maid who never does anything. He's filing his nails. He's trying on costumes. He desperately wants to be a part of the nightclub act that Zaza and George run, but they won't let him. They won't let him be a drag performer.

So he's always trying to prove to them that he can be in the show, that he has the talent. And it's ultimately really tragic, because he does not have the talent to be in the drag show. So, I like to think that Jacob thinks he's an intern to Zaza, and he will someday take over for her, or learn all the tricks and master them, and start his own show and be a big star and never come to this dump again.

He definitely has delusions of grandeur, but I think he also thinks of Zaza as a maternal figure, and he has sort of become a member of this family. He adds to the comedy. That's really what he does.

Which was your role in In The Heights, as well.

Yeah...