Douglas Hodge will reprise his Olivier Award-winning drag queen performance as Albin/Zaza in the West End production of La Cage Aux Folles this Christmas prior to a planned Broadway transfer in 2010. Hodge, along with previous co-star Denis Lawson as his on-stage lover Georges, will return to Terry Johnson’s multi award-winning production at the Playhouse Theatre for five weeks only from 30 November 2009.
The revival of Jerry Herman’s 1983 Broadway musical comedy opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory at Christmas 2007, before transferring in October 2008 to the West End’s Playhouse. Since Hodge stepped out of his stilettos, the role of Albin/Zaza has been tackled by chat show host Graham Norton, Roger Allam and, currently, John Barrowman, who faces critics on Monday night (5 October, previews from 14 September) playing opposite Simon Burke as the new Georges.
Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and subsequent 1978 French-Italian screen version, the musical focuses on a gay couple – Georges, the manager of a St Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his star attraction - and the adventures that ensue when Georges' son Jean-Michel brings home his fiancée's ultra-conservative parents to meet them.
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.
In other musical casting news:
From Monday (5 October), Cassidy Janson will take over from Julie Atherton as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre. The puppet musical, billed as an adult version of Sesame Street, had its West End premiere at the Noel Coward Theatre in June 2006 before moving this past June to the Gielgud. Janson’s previous musical credits include Wicked (as an Elphaba alternate) and Tick Tick Boom at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
And at the Dominion Theatre, the long-running Queen musical We Will Rock You has recently welcomed two new principals: Peter Murphy as Galileo and Louise Bowden as Meat, replacing Ricardo Afonso and Rachel Tucker. Murphy has previously played the rebel role in Australia and Japan, while Bowden’s other credits include Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins and Into the Woods.