Menier’s La Cage Delays Opening for Second TimeDate: 28 November 2007
UPDATED, Wed 28 Nov 2007 @ 4.00pm: Further information has now been added to this story. Updates are denoted in bold below.
Originally due to open on 3 December 2007 (previews from 23 November), 12 days ago, the start of previews was delayed until last night, with a special press matinee performance scheduled for 13 December. Previews are going ahead, with Hodge’s understudy playing the role of Albin until Hodge is able to step in. A new press performance has now been arranged for 9 January 2008. The production’s limited season at the Menier’s Southwark homebase will continue, as scheduled, until 8 March 2008.
During rehearsals, Hodge contracted a chest infection which resulted in bronchitis across both lungs and caused a severe bronchospasm. He hopes to return to the production in mid-December.
Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and subsequent 1978 French-Italian screen version, the musical focuses on a gay couple – George (played by Philip Quast), the manager of a St Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his star attraction - and the adventures that ensue when George's son brings home his fiancée's ultra-conservative parents to meet them.
Hodge made his musical stage debut in 2005 opposite Ewan McGregor in the original cast of Michael Grandage’s West End revival of Guys and Dolls. His many other stage acting credits include Titus Andronicus, Dumb Show, Pericles, King Lear, Three Sisters and more than ten Pinter plays, including Moonlight and The Caretaker in the West End. His directing credits include See How They Run, Dumb Waiter and Absurdia at the Donmar Warehouse, where he’s recently been appointed an associate director.
In addition to Quast and Hodge/Stafford, the cast features Tara Hugo, Neil McDermott, Jason Pennycooke, Iain Mitchell and Una Stubbs. La Cage Aux Folles is directed by Terry Johnson and designed by David Farley, with costumes by Matthew Wright, lighting by David Howe, orchestration by Jason Carr and musical direction by Nigel Lilley.
La Cage Aux Folles has a book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, whose other classics include Hello Dolly!, Mame and Mack and Mabel. The score features songs including “I Am What I Am”, “The Best of Times”, “Song on the Sand”, “Masculinity” and the title number.
On Broadway, La Cage Aux Folles clocked up over 1,500 performances in its premiere season – when it also won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score - and had a brief revival in 2004. In London, it had a run at the London Palladium in 1986. The stage show also inspired the 1996 Hollywood film The Birdcage, which relocated the action to Miami where Nathan Lane and Robin Williams starred.
- by Terri Paddock