‘La Cage Aux Folles’ speaks to audiences
September 6, 2016
Ziegfeld Theater Company's production of the Tony Award-winning musical "La Cage Aux Folles" is even more pertinent today than when it made its Broadway premiere in 1984.
"It tells a story about a gay couple, one of whom dresses up as a woman, and the power this speaks for, especially some of the youth of this state, is beautiful," said the production's director Morgan Parry. "The thing I like about this show is that it's not in your face. The story just happens to be about these two men.
"In fact, my very conservative in-laws came to see it in Ogden and cried through it," she said. "It was so touching to them because this story is about family, love and acceptance."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present "La Cage Aux Folles" over two weekends — Friday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Sept. 11, and Thursday, Sept. 13, through Sunday, Sept. 18.
The production, which was taken from a book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics by Jerry Herman, was based on a French play by Jean Poiret.
The cast features Georges, portrayed by Parry's husband Caleb, and Albin, who is played by Cameron Kapetanov.
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Georges is the manager of the Saint-Tropez nightclub. Albin is his partner and star attraction, and they both adore Georges' son Jean-Michel, played by Daniel Pack.
"La Cage Aux Folles" is the winner of a string of Tony Awards that include Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actor, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Costume Design, two Best Revival of a Musical awards and Best Choreography.
It has also won a slew of Drama Desk Awards.
Parry believes the way the script is written has a lot to do with how popular the musical is.
"I think because the issues are addressed [in a comedic way] throughout the show by the way Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman wrote it, that everyone in the audience feels safe and taken care of," Parry said. "It's like 'Modern Family.' When you watch Mitch and Cameron, you don't see them pushing a gay agenda. You just think that they are so delightful.
"I think that's how you feel about Albin and George," she said. "Their relationship is typical of every relationship. They love each other so much, and they have this son whom they adore together."
Parry has enjoyed directing her husband Caleb as Georges.
"I've directed him once before in 'The Light and the Piazza,' and his character is kind of the same in that play as it is in 'La Cage,'" she said. "My husband has 15 years of being an emcee, and that's what George is. He is the emcee at the nightclub, but also is like an emcee in his private life with Albin."
Telling a story that is so popular in the musical-theater world is a welcome challenge for the Ogden-based Ziegfeld Theater Company, Parry said.
"We're still technically community theater and we still try to keep our plays semi-professional, and we keep those high standards when we perform in Park City," she said. "I think working within a budget confines you in ways that also helps you expand and become more creative. As your box gets tighter, you find more areas of space within that box to do things. And that's what makes Ziegfeld unique."
Another advantage Ziegfeld has when approaching the musical is the passion the cast and crew have for the story.
"It is so moving and so poignant right now to so many people in the world, especially in our little corner," Parry said. "We are able to perform in a way that is true to us as a company, but also true to what is written.
"Theater, as you know, gives us glimpses into someone's life for an hour and a half or two hours," she said. "You get to see lots of drama and the things that make up a good show. While some stories don't speak to everyone, this one, I think, speaks to every person who sees it."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present the Ziegfeld Theater Company's "La Cage Aux Folles" from Friday, Sept. 9 to Sunday, Sept. 11, and from Thursday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 18. Evening curtain is 8 p.m. and Sunday's performances start at 6 p.m. Tickets for the Friday through Sunday performances range from $35 to $55. Thursday tickets range from $29 to $45. For more information and to buy tickets, visit http://www.parkcityshows.com.