Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman, Book by Harvey Fierstein
Based on the French movie of the same name, which later spawned the American movie “The Birdcage,” this Jerry Herman musical remains one of the all-time biggest hits worldwide. This multi-Tony Award-wining musical tells the story of a middle-aged show business couple, grappling with aging, fidelity, kids, and holding on to their dignity when the world around them would rather strip it away. At the center is Georges, a St. Tropez nightclub owner, and his husband Albin, who is also the club’s erratic drag headliner Zaza. When Georges’ son gets engaged to the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician, Georges and Albin agree to hide their lifestyle and play it straight to meet the in-laws. All hell breaks loose, as Albin has a different definition of normal that threatens to upend the entire affair with hilarious results. With an iconic score by Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!; Mame) featuring “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times” and hilarious book by Harvey Fierstein (Newsies, Kinky Boots), La Cage Aux Folles is a fabulously fun musical about family, identity and loving who you are.
Please Note: An Open-Caption Performance of this production will be available on Friday, July 12 at 8:00pm and Saturday, July 13 at 2:00pm.
On LA CAGE AUX FOLLES – Director’s Thoughts
FAMILY, LOVE, RESPECT and ACCEPTANCE
“An inelduble fact of life my love: you can’t keep children in cages,” says George. “Well, not forever,” replies Albin.
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is the only musical in history to have won the trifecta of Tony for Best Musical for its original production (1984) and also won Best Musical for both its Broadway revivals ( 2004 and 2010) and remains one of the all-time biggest hits produced around the world. The reason is simple, really: It’s a story about family, the enduring love of of parents for each other and for their son, and the respect and acceptance we all need to succeed in the world.
I came from a family where everyone was welcome. Our friends and our loves – both past and present — became part of our collective family for the rest of their lives. My parents never judged. Everyone was welcome. Sexual orientation, political leaning, race, ethnic background, rich or poor, we were brought up to believe and lived our lives understanding that we are all God’s children. The family of man is all one family.
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is, at its core, a celebration of love, respect, acceptance, and family values; granted the family is a bit unique. But what family isn’t? While family might seem like a simple concept, there is no simple definition. Families are made up of everything from a single parent to a mix of a whole group of people — often including exes, or a family comprised of an entire community of people with very disparate backgrounds and beleifs.
A successful family, which is not always the family we grow up in but can frequently be the one we discover as we navigate the world, is one that has the bond of love, respect and most of all the acceptance that we are all one. It is in that respect and acceptance that the family finds its love and helps all of the family members to navigate the complexities and difficulties in life. It is in that respect and acceptance that allow each family member the freedom to discover their true happiness.
In LA CAGE, we follow the story of Jean-Michels journey of accepting his adoptive father the way he is, and in doing so, understanding the value of family. The emotional and empathetic power of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES lies not just in self-acceptance, but in acceptance of others and strength of family.
In the end, George and Albin embrace Anne as a part of their family as the play awakens an inner spark of acceptance for ourselves as well as others different from us. The final message: We should draw closer to family and to “hold this moment fast and live and love as only you know how and make this moment last because the best of times is now.”
May we all have a life filled with family, love, respect and acceptance. Wouldn’t the world be a better place?
Richard Rose, Director of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
NOTE: Thanks to the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre IN THE WINGS Arts-In-Education Program Study Guide from their production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES for providing some of the inspiration, thoughts, and information presented in these Director’s Thoughts.
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