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La Cage aux Folles (musical)

La Cage aux Folles
Original Broadway windowcard
Music Jerry Herman
Lyrics Jerry Herman
Book Harvey Fierstein
Basis La Cage aux Folles by Jean Poiret
Productions 1983 Boston tryout
1983 Broadway
1985 Theater des Westens Berlin, Germany
1986 West End
2001 Madrid
2004 Broadway revival
2008 West End revival
2010 Broadway revival
2011 U.S. Tour
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical
Tony Award for Best Original Score
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music
Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival

La Cage aux Folles (French pronunciation: ​) is a fiancée's ultra-conservative parents to meet them. La cage aux folles literally means "the cage of mad women". However folles is also a slang term for effeminate homosexuals (queens).

The original 1983 Christopher Sieber as Albin. The show has had five nominations for Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical from the three Broadway productions, twice for Georges and three times for Albin, and won twice, both for Albin.


  • Background 1
  • Synopsis 2
    • Act I 2.1
    • Act II 2.2
  • Characters 3
  • Productions 4
    • Original Broadway production 4.1
    • Original London production 4.2
    • 2003 20th Anniversary Production 4.3
    • 2004 Broadway revival 4.4
    • 2008 London revival 4.5
    • 2010 Broadway revival 4.6
    • National Tour (2011–2012) 4.7
    • International productions 4.8
  • Musical numbers 5
  • Recordings 6
  • Awards and nominations 7
    • Original Broadway production 7.1
    • 2004 Broadway revival 7.2
    • 2008 London revival 7.3
    • 2010 Broadway revival 7.4
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Allan Carr, who had produced the successful film adaptation of Grease (1978), was eager to work in theatre and thought a musical version of the hit 1978 film La Cage aux Folles would be an ideal vehicle for his Broadway debut.[2] However, he was unable to secure the rights to the film and was forced to settle for the rights to the original play only.[3] Carr hired Jay Presson Allen to write the book and Maury Yeston to compose the score for The Queen of Basin Street, an Americanized version set in New Orleans. With Mike Nichols set to direct and Tommy Tune on board as choreographer, Carr searched for executive producers and found them in Fritz Holt and Barry Brown, who immediately fired the entire creative team that Carr had assembled. All of them eventually filed lawsuits, but Yeston alone won and later collected a small royalty from La Cage.[4]

Holt and Brown had produced the 1974 revival of Gypsy directed by Arthur Laurents, and they approached him with an offer to direct their new venture. Laurents was not a fan of drag or camp entertainment and thought Holt and Brown never would find enough investors to finance a gay-themed project at a time when, during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, homophobia was more intense than ever.[5] He agreed only because Holt and Brown were close friends and he wanted them to remain on Carr's payroll as long as possible, but his interest grew when he learned Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman had committed to the project.[6]

According to Laurents, when he met with Fierstein and Herman for the first time, they had restored both the title and locale of the original play but had neither a script nor even an outline for the plot. All they had was the Herman song "I Am What I Am," and Laurents immediately envisioned it as an emotional outburst sung at the close of the first act. Laurents further claims that when he explained his concept to Fierstein and Herman, he inspired the direction they took in writing the musical.[6] Herman tells a very different story in an interview included in the original cast CD. He claims that they were well into the collaboration when Fierstein arrived one day with an emotional fiery scene he had written for the end of Act I that included the words "I am what I am." Delighted, Herman asked to use the five words, boasting he would have a song by morning, which he did. With gay-activist Fierstein and the political Laurents on board, the show could have "become a polemic diatribe on gay rights."[5] However, Herman was a moderating influence. Having suffered a series of disappointments with darker-themed shows since 1969, he was eager to score a hit with a mainstream, emotional, optimistic song-and-dance entertainment that middle-class audiences would enjoy.[5] The team opted to create "a charming, colorful, great-looking musical comedy - an old-fashioned piece of entertainment," as Herman recalled in his memoir Showtune.[7] By "delivering their sentiments in a sweetly entertaining manner", the team was able to convey their gay-themed message with more impact than they could have with a more aggressive approach.[8]

Fierstein, Herman and Laurents met daily in Herman's Manhattan townhouse to work on the musical. Because they were limited to using only the Poiret play as a source, they were unable to include the character of Jean-Michel's birth mother, who had been created for the film. They focused the plot on the fact that the relationship of Georges and Albin seems so natural that the boy is able to accept a man as his "mother".[9] The three men agreed that Albin needed to be as glamorous an entertainer as possible, and Theoni V. Aldredge was hired as costume designer to achieve their goal.[10]

The producers agreed to a Boston tryout, and just before the second preview (the first was cancelled due to problems with the mechanized set),[11] Herman had a panic attack prompted by his fear that the city probably was too conservative to embrace a gay-themed musical, albeit one designed for a mainstream audience. The Boston crowds gave the show an enthusiastic reception.[12] Fierstein, Herman and Laurents were also concerned that this was essentially a love story in which the lovers barely touched each other. Fierstein suggested they kiss on the cheeks at the end, and Laurents, citing the common custom of French men kissing each other on both cheeks, agreed.[13]

[14] Barry went on to get a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a musical for his efforts, Co-Star Hearn took home the trophy.

According to theatre historian John Kenrick, La Cage aux Folles helped make the 1983 Broadway season an especially strong one. He noted that following La Cage and Big River in 1985, for "the first time since Oklahoma, a full decade would go by before a new American musical would pass the 1,000-performance mark."[15]


Act I

Georges, the master of ceremonies, welcomes the audience to his St. Tropez drag nightclub, "La Cage aux Folles". The chorus line known as Les Cagelles appear and introduce themselves to the audience ("We Are What We Are"). Georges and his "wife", Albin, have lived happily together for many years in an apartment above La Cage with their "maid" Jacob. Albin is a drag queen and the star performer of La Cage aux Folles under the alias of "Zaza".

As Albin prepares to perform ("[A Little More] Mascara"), Georges' 24-year-old son Jean-Michel (the offspring of a confused, youthful liaison with a woman named Sybil) arrives home with the news that he is engaged to Anne Dindon. Georges is reluctant to approve of Jean-Michel's engagement, but Jean-Michel assures his father that he is in love with Anne ("With Anne on My Arm"). Unfortunately, her father is head of the "Tradition, Family and Morality Party", whose stated goal is to close the local drag clubs. Anne's parents want to meet their daughter's future in-laws. Jean-Michel has lied to his fiancée, describing Georges as a retired diplomat. Jean-Michel pleads with Georges to tell Albin to absent himself (and his flamboyant behaviors) for the visit - and for Georges to redecorate the apartment in a more subdued fashion. Jean-Michel also asks Georges to invite Sybil, who has barely seen him since his birth, to dinner in Albin's stead. Albin returns from the show to greet his son when Georges suggests that they take a walk ("With You on My Arm").

Georges takes Albin to the Promenade Café, owned by Monsieur and Madame Renaud, where he attempts to soften Albin's emotions before telling him of Jean-Michel's request ("Song on the Sand"). Before Georges can break the news to him, Albin suggests that they hurry back to La Cage to make it in time for the next show. They arrive in time and Albin takes the stage once more as Zaza ("La Cage aux Folles"). While Albin is performing, Georges and Jean-Michel quickly redecorate the house. While Albin is changing for his next number, he notices the two carrying his gowns and demands to know what is going on. Georges finally tells Albin of Jean-Michel's plan and expects Albin to explode with fury, but he remains silent. Albin then re-joins Les Cagelles onstage, tells them to leave, and begins to sing alone in defiance of Jean-Michel, stating that he is proud of who he is and refuses to change for anyone ("I Am What I Am"). He throws his wig at Georges and departs in a huff.

Act II

The next morning, Georges finds Albin at the Promenade Café after his abrupt departure and apologizes ("Song on the Sand [Reprise]"). He then suggests to Albin that he dress up for dinner as macho "Uncle Al". Albin is still upset, but reluctantly agrees to act like a

Back at the apartment, the Dindons plead with their daughter to abandon her fiancé, for they are appalled by his


  • Georges – Albin's husband, and owner of La Cage aux Folles, as well as compère.
  • Albin – Georges' husband, and the star of La Cage aux Folles as drag queen "Zaza."
  • Jacob – Butler (though he clearly prefers to be called a maid), and Albin's personal assistant.
  • Jean-Michel – Georges' son from a short-lived affair twenty-four years ago.
  • Anne Dindon – Jean-Michel's fiancée.
  • Monsieur Edouard Dindon – Anne's ultra-conservative father, and leader of the Tradition, Family and Morality Party.
  • Madame Marie Dindon – Edouard's wife and Anne's mother.
  • Jacqueline – Georges and Albin's friend and the owner of classy restaurant, "Chez Jaqueline."
  • Monsieur and Madame Renaud – Owners of the Promenade Café.
  • Francis – Stage manager of La Cage aux Folles.
  • Les Cagelles – The drag performers at La Cage aux Folles who also serve as background performers for Zaza.


Original Broadway production

George Hearn in the Original Broadway Production of La Cage aux Folles

La Cage aux Folles opened on Broadway at the Drama Desk Awards. The production ran for four years and 1,761 performances, closing on November 15, 1987.[16] After the great success of the production's opening night, Herman felt vindicated. He "had nothing else to prove" to his critics and "vowed never to write another show for Broadway".[17]

Original London production

The show had its West End premiere at the

  • Official website
  • La Cage aux Folles (musical) at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Broadway World review of the 2004 revival
  • profile of the show
  • Photos from the original Broadway production
  • Profile of the musical with many links to the songs, albums and other information
  • Review of the musical at the Playhouse Theatre in London | November 3, 2008
  • Production, cast, and plot information from
  • Background and other information about the musical
  • featurePlaybill
  • and its Broadway seasonLa CageAnalysis of

External links

  • Bloom, Ken and Vlastnik, Frank. Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (2004; revised paperback ed. 2008). ISBN 978-1-57912-313-0
  • Bloom, Ken and Jerry Herman. Jerry Herman: the lyrics: a celebration, Routledge (2003). ISBN 0-415-96768-6
  • Herman, Jerry and Marilyn Stasio. Showtune: A Memoir by Jerry Herman, New York: Donald I. Fine Books (1996). ISBN 1-55611-502-4
  • Laurents, Arthur. Mainly on Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story, and Other Musicals, New York: Knopf (2009). ISBN 0-307-27088-2


  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^ Laurents, p. 115
  3. ^ Laurents, p. 119
  4. ^ Laurents, p. 118
  5. ^ a b c Bloom and Vlastnik, p. 176
  6. ^ a b Laurents, pp. 119-20
  7. ^ Herman, p. 227
  8. ^ a b c Bloom and Vlastnik, p. 177
  9. ^ Laurents, p. 122
  10. ^ Herman, p. 233
  11. ^ Laurents, p. 128
  12. ^ Herman, pp. 239-40
  13. ^ Laurents, p. 121
  14. ^ Laurents, pp. 126-27
  15. ^ History of The Musical Stage 1980s: Part II
  16. ^ a b c "La Cage aux Folles". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  17. ^ Bloom and Herman, p. 224
  18. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (June 25, 1987). "2 Actors' Unions Wage Trans-Atlantic Battle".  
  19. ^ Billington, Michael, "A gay night at home with the boys", The Guardian, 9 May 1986, p. 12
  20. ^ "I Love The Nightlife", The Stage, June 6, 2007
  21. ^ IBDB Listing, Retrieved August 12, 2009
  22. ^  
  23. ^ "La Cage Will Close June 26 Despite Tony Awards",, 2005
  24. ^ Broadwayworld Grosses, Retrieved August 12, 2009
  25. ^ 2008 Menier production
  26. ^ "Is La Cage Another Menier Hit?",
  27. ^ Promotional Leaflet
  28. ^ "La Cage aux Folles extends London run",
  29. ^ Shenton, Mark. Begins Performances at West End's Playhouse Theatre Oct. 20"La Cage"Menier ,, October 20, 2008
  30. ^ Billington, Michael.?"La Cage"Did Hodge Sparkle in
  31. ^ Royal Variety Press Release 2008
  32. ^ "Graham Norton Joins La Cage",
  33. ^ "Allam and Quast to Lead La Cage"
  34. ^ "La Cage aux Folles"Burke to Join Barrowman in London ,
  35. ^ Shenton, Mark."West End's La Cage Aux Folles to Shutter Jan. 2, Prior to Broadway Opening", November 11, 2009
  36. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Open Up Your Closet: La Cage aux Folles Revival Opens on Broadway April 18"., April 18, 2010
  37. ^  
  38. ^ BWW News Desk.Jeffrey Tambor Withdraws from LA CAGE AUX FOLLES; Understudy Steps in - For Now", February 25, 2011
  39. ^ Gans, Andrew."Broadway's 'La Cage aux Folles' Will Close May 1", April 6, 2011
  40. ^ "George Hamilton to Star in National Tour", April 25, 2011
  41. ^ broadwayworld listing
  42. ^ "La Cage Aux Folles Opens in Oporto, Portugal"
  43. ^ [4], November 16, 2010
  44. ^ [5]
  45. ^ [6]
  46. ^ Por primera vez, versión musical de La Jaula de las Locas en Puerto Rico -
  47. ^ Braulio Castillo y Rafael José encabezan “La Jaula de las Locas” -
  48. ^
  49. ^ (see Songs"La Cage aux Folles" Internet Broadway Database, accessed July 1, 2011
  50. ^ Gans, Andrew."Red, Memphis, Bridge, Fences and La Cage WinJonathan Deans Drama Desk Awards", May 23, 2010


See also

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2010 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Kelsey Grammer Nominated
Douglas Hodge Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Robin de Jesus Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Terry Johnson Won
Best Choreography Lynne Page Nominated
Best Orchestrations Jason Carr Nominated
Best Scenic Design Tim Shortall Nominated
Best Costume Design Matthew Wright Nominated
Best Lighting Design Nick Richings Nominated
Best Sound Design Jonathan Deans Nominated
Drama Desk Award[50] Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Robin de Jesus Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Terry Johnson Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Lynne Page Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Matthew Wright Won
Outstanding Sound Design Jonathan Deans Nominated

2010 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2009 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Won
Best Actor in a Musical Douglas Hodge Won
Denis Lawson Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Jason Pennycooke Nominated
Best Director of a Musical Terry Johnson Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Lynne Page Nominated
Best Costume Design Matthew Wright Nominated

2008 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2005 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Gary Beach Nominated
Best Choreography Jerry Mitchell Won
Best Costume Design William Ivey Long Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Choreography Jerry Mitchell Won
Outstanding Costume Design William Ivey Long Nominated

2004 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1984 Tony Award Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical Harvey Fierstein Won
Best Original Score Jerry Herman Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical George Hearn Won
Gene Barry Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Arthur Laurents Won
Best Choreography Scott Salmon Nominated
Best Costume Design Theoni V. Aldredge Won
Best Lighting Design Jules Fisher Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Book of a Musical Harvey Fierstein Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical George Hearn Won
Gene Barry Nominated
Outstanding Music Jerry Herman Won
Outstanding Lyrics Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Jim Tyler Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Theoni V. Aldredge Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Jules Fisher Nominated

Original Broadway production

Awards and nominations

Albin's Act I finale number, "I Am What I Am", was recorded by Gloria Gaynor and proved to be one of her biggest hits. It was also recorded by other artists, including Shirley Bassey, Tony Bennett, Pia Zadora,[8] and John Barrowman . It also became a rallying cry of the Gay Pride movement.

There are currently three cast recordings available for the show: the Original Broadway cast, the Original Australian cast and the 2010 Broadway revival cast. No recording was made for the 2004 revival.


Note: Original Broadway production[49]

Musical numbers

The Philippines production premiered February 28, 2015 at the Carlos P Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, starring Steven Silva as Jean-Michel, produced by 9 Works Theatrical, with direction by Robbie Guevara and scenography by Mio Infante.

2015 Philippine production

The Korean Revival ran in LG Arts Center, Seoul in 2014 for three months

2014 Korean Revival

Other foreign language productions have played in Copenhagen, Oslo (twice), Bergen, Vienna, Italy, Turku, Helsinki (twice), Buenos Aires, Lima, Stockholm, Bogotá, Tallinn, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo..

[48] The Swedish production premiered on September 7, 2013 at

2013 Swedish production

1 week only, in conjunction with Gay Ski Week. Premiere 1 Sep.

2013 Queenstown New Zealand

[47][46] The Puerto Rican production premiered on August 16, 2013 at the

2013 Puerto Rican production

[45] The show opened in Panama City on June 2013 at the Teatro en Círculo. It stars Edwin Cedeño (Albin/Zaza) and

2013 Panama production

A new Danish production opened in the spring 2013 it the Aarhus Theatre starring Niels Ellegaard (Georges) and Anders Baggesen (Albin).

2013 Danish production

The Korean production ran in Seoul in 2012 for two months.[44] Korean production won 4 awards in Korean Musical Awards.

2012 Korean production

A Dutch production premiered in November 2010 and is still running in Amsterdam.[43]

2010 Dutch production

[42] The show opened in Portugal at the

2009 Portuguese production

The Spanish production premiered at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo in Madrid and starred Andrés Pajares as Albin, Joaquín Kremel as Georges and Jacobo Dicenta as Jean-Michel.

2001 Spanish production

The Mexico City production ran for two and a half years at the Teatro Silvia Pinal and starred Javier Díaz Dueñas as Albin/Zaza and Gustavo Rojo as Georges.

1993 Mexican production

The Colombian production debout was on June 1991 at the Teatro Nacional La Castellana, Bogotá. Salsa singer César Mora (Albin/Zazá) and the great Spanish-Colombian actor and Show-Man Fernando González Pacheco as George (actually called Renato, in this Spanish version by César Scola and María Cecilia Botero) There is a recording of this stage production. Soap Operas famous villain Catherine Siachoque was a Cagelle on this Colombian production.

1991 Colombian production

The German production opened at the Steve Barton as Jean-Michel. It played for 301 performances. In 1986, Steve Barton, who opened the show as Jean-Michel, took over the role of Albin/Zaza.

1985 German production

[41] The 1985

1985 Australian production

International productions

A national tour modeled after the 2010 Broadway Revival began in September 2011 starting in Harvey Fierstein. This was Sieber's national tour debut.[39][40]

National Tour (2011–2012)

  • Allyce Beasley replaced Veanne Cox as Mme. Renaud/Mme. Dindon on September 14, 2010.
  • [38]
  • Harvey Fierstein replaced Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza on February 15, 2011.
  • Wilson Jermaine Heredia replaced Robin de Jesus as Jacob on February 15, 2011.
  • Michael McShane replaced Fred Applegate as M. Renaud/M. Dindon on February 15, 2011.
  • Christopher Sieber replaced Jeffrey Tambor as Georges on March 11, 2011.
  • Veanne Cox returned to the role of Mme. Renaud/Mme. Dindon on April 5, 2011.
  • Heather Lindell replaced Elena Shaddow in the role of Anne on April 5, 2011.
Notable replacements

and was released on September 28, 2010. The production closed on May 1, 2011, after 433 performances and 15 previews. PS Classics, Logan Keslar, Sean Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Cunningham, Terry Lavell and Yurel Echezarreta. The production received 11 Tony Award nominations and won Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge) and Best Direction of a Musical. A cast recording of the revival was made by Nick Adams as Anne. The Cagelles included Elena Shaddow as Jacqueline and Christine Andreas as Mme. Renaud/Mme. Dindon, Veanne Cox as M. Renaud/M. Dindon, Fred Applegate as Jacob, Robin de Jesus The cast also featured A.J Shively in his Broadway debut as Jean-Michel, [37] A transfer of the 2008 London revival to

2010 Broadway revival

[35] The Menier Chocolate Factory production transferred to the West End on October 20, 2008 at the

Les Cagelles in the 2008 West End revival.

A scaled-down London revival, starring Philip Quast and Douglas Hodge opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory on January 8, 2008, and played there until March 8, 2008.[25] The cast also included Neil McDermott, Iain Mitchell and Una Stubbs, with direction by Terry Johnson and choreography by Lynne Page. The production had originally been scheduled to open in December 2007, but it was delayed twice due to illness within the cast. By the time the production officially opened, all remaining performances had sold out. The show opened to mostly positive press with particular praise for Hodge's performance as Albin.[26]

2008 London revival

The first Broadway revival opened at the [22] The revival won numerous Tony and Drama Desk awards. The production closed on June 26, 2005. Ticket sales for the show had not increased after winning the Tony Award, and the show had been consistently selling at less than 60% capacity in the months before closing.[23][24]

2004 Broadway revival

HOFSTRA USA Produced a 20th Anniversary Production of "La Cage aux Folles" at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse that ran the entire month of August 2003 and was extended for an additional 3 Performances. The Production was Directed & Choreographed by Gary John LaRosa and Stage Managed by Joe Gladstone & Flora Biagi. The Production featured a 27 Pieces Orchestra; the Original Broadway Costumes and Starred Michael Allen Gray as "Georges" and Cas Marino as "Albin.

2003 20th Anniversary Production

[20] crisis, and producers were uncomfortable about portraying gay lives onstage quite so openly in mainstream musicals for some time afterwards.AIDS as Jacqueline, Wendy Roe as Anne, Donald Waugh as Jacob, > Jerry Lane as Phadrea. The show closed in London after 301 performances. Its short run and financial failure were partly blamed on the Phyllida Law as Mme. Dindon, Julia Sutton as Edouard Dindon, Brian Glover as Jean-Michel, Richard Owens as M. Renaud, Jonathon Morris [19]

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