Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and subsequent 1978 French-Italian screen version, the musical focuses on a gay couple - George, 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.
Australian Philip Quast is a triple Olivier Award winner – having scooped Best Actor in a Musical trophies for Sunday in the Park with George, The Fix and South Pacific. His many other credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Stuff Happens, The Secret Garden, Macbeth, White Devil and, earlier this year in the West End, Evita.
Hodge, who will drag up for the part of Albin, 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.
Director Terry Johnson’s most recent credits include Whipping It Up, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and his own plays Piano/Forte and Hitchcock Blonde. The musical is designed by David Farley (who won a hat trick of Best Designer honours – Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard – for the Menier revival of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George) and choreographed by Lynne Page, with lighting by David Howe, musical supervision by Gareth Valentine 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.
The Menier revival is directed by playwright-director Terry Johnson, whose recent credits include Whipping It Up, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and his own plays Piano/Forte and Hitchcock Blonde. The production is designed by David Farley (who won a hat trick of Best Designer honours – Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard – for the Menier revival of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George) and choreographed by Lynne Page.
Currently at the 150-seat Menier Chocolate Factory is Samuel West’s revival of Patrick Marber’s debut play Dealer's Choice, which opened this week and continues until 17 November (See News, 1 Jun 2007).
- by Terri Paddock