La Cage aux Folles is a show about drag queens. It bends gender at every opportunity, and is filled with beautiful costumes, flamboyant production numbers, and the bawdy humor of a French farce.
Underneath all that is a show about love, partnership, family values, loyalty, honesty, and the will to be exactly, and unapologetically, who you are. It’s a show about aging and coming of age. It is entertainment filled with heart.
Harvey Fierstein and composer Jerry Herman, who also wrote Hello Dolly!, and Mame, created La Cage aux Folles and put it on Broadway in 1983, where it won six Tony awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book.
Its latest stage incarnation opened on Broadway in 2010, staring Kelsey Grammer as George and Douglas Hodge as Albin. It was nominated for eleven Tony awards and won for Best Revival of a Musical, making it the first show to win that award twice!
Yet, for all its Broadway pedigree, most people know the story from its 1996 film adaptation, TheBirdcage,written by Elaine May, directed by Mike Nichols and staringRobin Williams and Nathan Lane. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is brilliant performers doing brilliant material.
The film removed most of the production numbers and concentrated on relationships and comedy, which is precisely what the show is about. La Cage aux Folles, the musical, gives you all that…AND the production numbers, making it the best of both worlds.
In many ways, these are troubled times. But it’s safe to say, we all agree it’s rarely productive to pretend to be someone you are not. We also believe family is important, and relationships are what matters most in life. That’s the message of La Cage aux Folles and it delivers it with flare.
At one point, John-Michele asks his father George to temporarily set aside everything he believes in, even to deny his love for his life-long partner, Albin. George replies that tradition, morality, and family values are precisely what the popular drag club on the French Riviera is all about. And while these things may not always appear the same on the surface, it makes them no less genuine and important for those that hold those values.
That perfectly sums up the message behind La Cage aux Follesand what makes it such an appropriate show for Orcas Center. Management, the production staff, the performers, and crew have joined together to bring this story to life because we believe in its message as well as in its entertainment value. We think you will too.
–Bruce Langford, Director, La Cage aux Folles