Illness Keeps Hodge Out of First Preview of London's La Cage Revival

News   Illness Keeps Hodge Out of First Preview of London's La Cage Revival The bout of illness that affected many of the cast members of the Menier Chocolate Factory's revival of La Cage aux Folles has led to actor Douglas Hodge being unable to perform in the delayed first-night preview Nov. 27.

Preview performances of the Jerry Herman (music and lyrics) and Harvey Fierstein (book) musical were pushed back four days because as much as half the cast were stricken with chest infections. The show's opening date is delayed by ten days to Dec. 13.

Playbill.com has learned that Hodge, who plays the role of gay lover Albin opposite Philip Quast's George, is still suffering from a chest infection. Understudy Spencer Stafford will step in to Hodge's role for the Nov. 27 performance.

The cast also includes American actor Tara Hugo as Jacquline, Neil McDermott (Sound of Music and Bad Girls) as Jean-Michel and Jason Pennycooke (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and Simply Heavenly) as Jacob.

Three-time Olivier winner Quast (Sunday in the Park with George, The Fix and South Pacific) was last seen on the London stage in the revival of Evita.

Actor/director Hodge recently helmed Absurdia at the Donmar Warehouse. He made his musical theatre debut playing Nathan opposite Ewan McGregor's Sky in Guys and Dolls. La Cage aux Folles is helmed by writer/director Johnson and designed by David Farley, designer of the Menier's award-winning production of Sunday in the Park with George.

La Cage aux Folles premiered at Broadway's Palace Theatre on Aug. 21, 1983, running for 1,761 performances and winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

The London premiere opened at the Palladium on May 7, 1986, and ran for 301 performances.

Herman's credits include Milk and Honey; Hello, Dolly!; Mame; Dear World; Mack and Mabel; and The Grand Tour. La Cage aux Folles garnered Herman his second Tony Award. His first was for Hello, Dolly!.

Fierstein, who also won a Tony for his work on La Cage aux Folles, is the author of Torch Song Trilogy, for which he won the Best Play and Best Actor Tonys. His new musical, A Catered Affair, will arrive on Broadway later this season.

The London production of La Cage marks the musical theatre debut for the prolific Johnson. His plays include Insignificance, the Olivier-winning Emmanuelle and Dick and, more recently, Hitchcock Blonde. His adaptation of The Graduate transferred from the West End to Broadway.

La Cage aux Folles is based on Jean Poiret's play about middle-aged lovers Albin and Georges, who run a nightclub in St. Tropez, where Albin's alter ego ZaZa is the star attraction.

The plot revolves around the complications that develop when Georges' son announces that he is getting married to the daughter of a local moral crusader and whose parents are coming to dinner to meet the future in-laws.

For more La Cage aux Folles, which is booking until March 8, 2008, call (0)20 790 7060.