Counting its original Broadway run and two revivals, an 11-time Tony Award winner is coming to the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga stage starting tonight, July 17. "La Cage aux Folles" will run the next two weekends at the Eastgate Town Center.
Based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, the musical follows the lives of gay couple Georges and Albin. Georges owns a St. Tropez nightclub in which Albin, in drag, is the star attraction. Georges and Albin have been happily together for many years, but complications ensue when Jean-Michel, Georges' son from a confused, youthful liaison with a woman, brings home his fiancee's ultra-conservative parents.
IF YOU GO
■ What: "La Cage aux Folles."
■ When: 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday, July 17-19; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 20; 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 24-26; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 27.
■ Where: Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, inside Eastgate Town Center, 5600 Brainerd Road.
■ Admission: $20 adults, $15 students with ID.
■ Phone: 423-602-8640.
■ Website: www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com.
Themes of love, family and acceptance resonate in the musical, say producers, and drag queens abound.
"'La Cage' is ultimately a play about filial approval and, most importantly, love," says director Garry Lee Posey. "Although the musical is around 30 years old, it is still very appropriate, given the light of recent court decisions with regards to same-sex unions. The music is moving, the tunes are infectious and the themes and messages which appear, I think, make extremely valid points."
The musical features a book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and music by Jerry Herman.
The ETC cast includes Marianna Allen, Mario Brooks, Jarred Clemons, Chelsea M. Crosby, Kyle Dagnan, Jerry Draper, Eddie Garza, Jordan Guess, Garrett Henson, Caren Manser, Daniel Meeks, Jason O'Neal, Alicia Pickett, Mariah Rinkel, Bruce Shaw, Bonnie Stoloff, Rodney Strong and Jordan Williams. Jason Whitehead is music director.
The three Broadway versions of "La Cage aux Folles" have been nominated for a total of 24 Tony Awards and won 11.
Original 1984 production
■ Won for: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (George Hearn), Best Direction of a Musical, Best Costume Design.
■ Also nominated for: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Gene Barry), Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design.
2004 Broadway revival
■ Won for: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Choreography.
■ Also nominated for: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Gary Beach), Best Costume Design.
2010 Broadway revival
■ Won for: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge), Best Direction of a Musical.
■ Also nominated for: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Kelsey Grammer), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 1996 feature film "The Birdcage," starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, was based on "La Cage aux Folles."