Cagey comedy still capable of connecting
La Cage aux Folles begins June run on Friday
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am
La Cage aux Folles
Two One-Way Tickets to Broadway
June 13 to 15, 19 to 22, 25 to 29
La Cite Francophone
8627 – 91 St.
Tickets: $15 to $26 Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online at tixonthesquare.ca
Just as the Edmonton Pride Festival sings its last notes, Two One-Way Tickets to Broadway pulls La Cage aux Folles out of its magic bag of tricks.
You may not recognize the name, however there’s a good chance you know the plot. This Tony-award winning Broadway musical from Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly!, Mame) premiered in 1983 and was later made into the 1996 non-musical mega-hit movie, The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
George is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club who had an experimental night with an actress 24 years prior to the show. Along with his high-strung partner Albin, who is also a star-performer known as Zaza, they raised the accidental offspring.
The duo has lived a charmed life with son Jean-Michel. But as the play opens, Jean-Michel turns up engaged to Anne, a perfect young woman except for one thing – her father is a homophobic, conservative right-wing politician, and he and his wife are unexpectedly coming to dinner.
Jean-Michel panics and gives Albin the brush-off, and insists that for one night Georges reconnect with his birth mother for a meet-the-parents evening.
On the surface, it’s ripe for a farcical disaster, however Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, Kinky Boots) layers the plot with human vulnerabilities and human truths.
In a country that has legalized same sex marriages and is increasingly comfortable with it, would the deeper issues still seem relevant?
Artistic director Martin Galba is quite equivocal in stating that the global society still has a way to go in its acceptance of same-sex relationships.
“Despite the fact that we are further along than we were 20 years ago, in some respects we haven’t changed what it is to be gay. In some parts of the world, it’s not OK to be yourself. Regardless what others think, we have to be true to ourselves. No amount of outside influence changes who we are.”
Boasting a heavy artistic influence from St. Albert, La Cage has an inherently strong connection to the community.
The stalwart Jen Magel is senior stage manager and Paul Kane music director Daryl Price is making his debut with Two One-Way Tickets as music director.
“I met Daryl during the Full Monty and realized we had a lot in common. This is not a show he would do at his school and working with us allows him to work in a different environment,” Galba said.
In addition, Galba was very impressed with Price’s ability to interpret music, lead and conduct a live orchestra.
“He can look at a piece of music and hum it out. I’m lucky to have his expertise in the show.”
In addition, Paul Kane alumnus Andrew Boyd (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) has nabbed the peachy role of Jean-Michel while his director-savvy sister Lauren is in the ensemble. And lastly, triple threat Tammie Quick plays multiple roles including Mrs. Dindon, Anne’s mother.
La Cage was revised in 2004 and again in 2010 into the scaled down version opening this Friday at La Cite Francophone.
To create an intimate nightclub atmosphere, les Cagelles (drag queens) will greet patrons and direct them to their seats. The first few rows closest to the stage have been furnished with bistro tables where les Cagelles will serve patrons.
“It’s going to be like a club atmosphere, like the movie Burlesque.”
In closing, the cast of Two One-Way Tickets would like to dedicate this production to actor John Rusich, 59, who was a veteran of the troupe. Rusich died on his way to B.C. for a short vacation on Thursday, June 5 when his motorcycle collided with a deer on Highway 16.
“We lost a pillar in the community. There’s not a lot of us in this show that either didn’t know him or hadn’t worked with him, and we would like to dedicate this show to him.”