The Menier Chocolate Factory has postponed the opening of its much-anticipated revival of Jerry Herman’s 1983 Broadway musical comedy La Cage Aux Folles, starring Philip Quast and Douglas Hodge as, after several members of the cast have fallen ill. Originally due to open on 3 December 2007 (previews from 23 November), a special press matinee performance has now been scheduled for 13 December.

The first three previews have also been cancelled, with performances now commencing on 27 November. The limited season at the Menier’s Southwark homebase continues until 8 March 2008.

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.

In addition to Quast and Hodge, 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.

Currently at the 150-seat Menier Chocolate Factory, Samuel West’s revival of Patrick Marber’s debut play Dealer's Choice continues until 17 November before transferring to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios next month (See News, 30 Oct 2007).

- by Terri Paddock