Win tickets to this delightful show! Read on…
La Cage aux Folles, a collaboration between two of the most recognizable voices in musical theatre (Jerry Herman- Hello Dolly, Mame & Harvey Fierstein- his vocal chords), premiered on Broadway in 1983. That production garnered nine Tony Award nominations, winning six of those including Best Score, Best Book and the Best Musical. Since that production, the show has continued to achieve recognition with Tony Award winning revivals in 2004 & 2010 (earning it the distinction as being the only musical to win the Best New Musical along with two trophies for Best Revival). The terrific show is not often booked by local theatres, however. I assume that the thought of producing this show (primarily the necessary lavish costumes and opulent sets) would be a hurdle most non-profit community groups would not want to take on.
Dayton Playhouse has entrusted director Doug Lloyd with bringing the St. Tropez nightclub and it’s cast of female impersonators to life on their stage over the next three weekends. With the success Lloyd has had on the Playhouse stage in recent years with very popular productions of Urinetown and Hair, I am sure that La Cage aux Folles will be a smash hit.
La Cage aux Folles, book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and music by Jerry Herman, is based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret. La Cage focuses on a couple: Georges, the manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his romantic partner and star attraction. Comedic adventures ensue when Georges’s son, Jean-Michel, brings home his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents to meet them.
The cast of La Cage is anchored by stage veterans Michael Boyd and Richard Croskey. Boyd, playing Georges, was in the 1989 Playhouse production of La Cage and has been acting and directing every since. Croskey, last seen in the Playhouse production of Victor/Victoria, has been a professional dancer and choreographer for the last 30+ years. The Cagelles, the “showgirls” of the La Cage aux Folles, include Playhouse executive director Wade Hamilton, features playhouse regulars Tony Fende, Ian Manuel, Stacey Ward and Allie Eder and also include some new Playhouse faces Nick Brown, Ty Mentz and Sean Metcalf. Playing Jean-Michele is the Playhouse’s golden voice Zach King. The cast is rounded out with Jeff Campbell, Karen Righter, Sarah Parsons, Duante Beddingfield, Mike Frazier, Joe Meyer, Chris Hammond, Ginger Hubbs, Brandon Saldivar, Alexandra Grizinski and Tim Behnken.
“We’re very happy to have this enormous production headed up by Director Doug Lloyd.” says Dayton Playhouse Executive Director Wade Hamilton. “His vast experience and reputation for producing hit musicals made me breath a little easier as we started this project.”
On the sliding scale of Playhouse musicals, this is a mammoth production. The Playhouse has assembled an all-star group of designers to bring this show to life. The set will be designed be Chris Harmon, lights by John Falkenbach and costumes by Kaitlyn Osborn and Karen and Stephanie Dickey. Leading the 10 piece La Cage orchestra will be Playhouse board member Ron Kindell. Choreography is from Miami Valley native Stacey Gear.
onStageDayton had some questions for Doug Lloyd about the upcoming opening. Here’s what he had to say:
onStageDayton: La Cage has recently had a successful return to both Broadway and the West End. What do you think is the appeal of the show?
Doug Lloyd: Well first of all the show is just plain “fun” it has great comedy and wonderful music, but it also a great love Story. I like that fact that it shows what in this age we would call an “alternative” family, has as much love caring and nurturing as a traditional family.
oSD: Jerry Herman’s score is legendary. Did you feel any allegiance to recreate and honor the show or did you take a fresh approach?
DL: We stayed true to the script, & score. The score we are working from is from the original Broadway production, with the exception of “Anne On My Arm” where they sent the music to the “new” version from the recent revival production with Kelsey Grammer. We did try to make an extra effort to show the true love and connection between Georges, Albin & Jean-Michel as well as show how the employees of La Cage are almost their extended family
oSD: How have local actors taken to these characters? How have they embraced them? What has been the biggest struggle?
DL: The cast has taken to their characters quite well. We had an extensive character development session, and they all walked away from that with a true feeling for each of their characters. Again we were searching for a true family feel as well as a closeness in the entire community
oSD: Many people are familiar with this story as it appeared in the film THE BIRDCAGE, what can audiences expect from the musical staging of the same tale?
DL: Many people don’t even realize “Bird Cage” was taken from “La Cage” when I tell them we are doing it they say what’s that. While the story line is the same, they took many liberties with the La Cage script when writing “Bird Cage”. There are several characters that appear in the movie that aren’t in the stage show, including the role of Sybil, John-Michel’s natural mother that was played by Christine Buransky. Sybil is referred to in La Cage but never appears. Both shows are funny but being a theatre person I’m partial to the La Cage script.
oSD: You are one of the city’s most active directors. What’s your next project?
DL: My next project will be back at my home theatre in Beavercreek and will be the world premiere of a new musical written by local author David Brush and the music was composed by local musician Jim Farely. The show is called “The Big Picture.” Set in the summer of 1962, it is about college freshman Billy Carson who is spending his first summer home with his mom and best friend. With only a few items to provide clues, Billy sets out with a renewed interest in discovering the father he never knew – B-Movie script writer and war hero, Jack Carson. When old wounds are opened and new loves are discovered, Billy realizes that coming home is more difficult and ultimately more enlightening than he ever imagined and the sleepy town of Pine Springs, Illinois may never be the same.
-SA/DB/DP Press Release
Photos by Bruce W. Brown.We encourage local theatre companies to submit calendar items HERE, and official press releases to onStageDayton@DaytonMostMetro.com.
Tickets & Performance Information:
Tickets Prices: $10 student / $14 senior / $15 adult
Location: The Dayton Playhouse
1301 East Siebenthaler Ave
Dayton, OH 45414 (map)
Tickets are on sale now through DP’s Online Box Office, or via phone at (937) 424-8477 Monday-Friday 2:00pm-5:00pm. In Person: Friday 2:00pm-5:00pm
For more information about The Dayton Playhouse visit http://www.daytonplayhouse.org/
Win Free Tickets!
Dayton Playhouse & onStageDayton on DaytonMostMetro.com have teamed up to give you a chance to win tickets to La Cage aux Folles! We will be giving away up to FOUR pairs of tickets for the second weekend of the show…We’ll select 1 winner (of a set of tickets) for every 10 FB/Twitter Shares! All you need to do is:
- Share this article on Facebook or Twitter…just click the appropriate button at the top of this page.
- Fill out the contact form at the bottom of this post.
- Leave a comment on this post, answering the following question…a revival of one of our more popular ticket contest questions…What’s your favorite Drag Queen Name? (i.e. “Julie Mandrews,” “Anita Cocktail,” etc.)
- The deadline to enter is Midnight on SATURDAY, May 14th.
- Winners will be selected randomly from all of the entries.