Menier La Cage aux Folles to Transfer to West End's Playhouse; Lawson to Join Cast

News   Menier La Cage aux Folles to Transfer to West End's Playhouse; Lawson to Join Cast The Menier Chocolate Factory's revival of Jerry Herman's 1983 Broadway hit La Cage aux Folles will get a new lease on life: The production will reopen at the West End's Playhouse Theatre Oct. 20 prior to an official opening Oct. 30.

The musical is initially booking performances through Jan. 10, 2009.

Douglas Hodge will reprise his Menier performance as Albin. He will be newly joined by Denis Lawson as Georges, taking over from Philip Quast, who played the role at the Menier.

The revival is directed by Terry Johnson, with choreography by Lynne Page, sets by Tim Shortall, costumes by Matthew Wright, wigs and make-up by Richard Mawbey, musical supervision and orchestrations by Jason Carr and musical direction by Nigel Lilley. It originally opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory Jan. 9, 2008, following previews from Nov. 2. (The originally scheduled opening had been postponed when Hodge suffered a serious chest infection.)

The production has been reconceived for the Playhouse, with audience members aged 18 and over able to purchase cabaret seating at the front of the stalls and, according to press materials, experience La Cage aux Folles from within.

The show, which features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Harvey Fierstein based on Jean Poiret's play of the same name (that later also became the inspiration for the 1996 film comedy "The Birdcage" with Robin Williams), is described as a celebration of family values. It revolves around the relationship of Georges, a nightclub owner, and his star performer and life partner Albin, who find their livelihood – and lifestyles – under threat as Georges' son from an earlier marriage announces his engagement to the daughter of a right-wing politician, who wants to close down the local colorful nightlife. With a visit from the prospective in-laws imminent, they all decide to take drastic action to hide their lifestyle...but can they keep it up? Hodge, who returns as Albin, has previously appeared in musicals as Nathan Detroit in the original cast of the most recent Michael Grandage-directed revival of Guys and Dolls. Other recent theatre credits include playing the title role in Titus Andronicus for Shakespare's Globe, Dumb Show at the Royal Court (for which he was Olivier-nominated), Pericles at the National Theatre, and more than ten Pinter plays including the world premiere of Moonlight and a West End revival of The Caretaker. Film credits include "Vanity Fair," "Mansfield Park" and "Scenes of a Sexual Nature." His television credits include regular roles in "Spooks" and "Redcap."

Lawson, who takes over as Georges, has appeared in Oleanna (Duke of York's), Lust (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Volpone (Almeida). Film credits include "The Star Wars Trilogy," "Providence," "Local Hero" and "The Man In the Iron Mask." His many roles in television include "Holby City," "The Passion," "Robin Hood" and "Bleak House."

The West End transfer of La Cage Aux Folles is produced by Chocolate Factory Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, David Ian Productions, Tulchin/Bartner, The Ambassador Theatre Group and Jamie Hendry.

The show's original Broadway production, directed by Arthur Laurents, opened at the Palace Theatre in August 1983, running for 1,761 performances before closing in November 1987. It won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical. That production was imported to the London Palladium in 1986, where it ran for 301 performances. It was last revived on Broadway in a different production, directed by Jerry Zaks, in 2004.

Tickets, which go on sale on Sept. 2, can be purchased from the box office by calling 0870 060 6631 or by visiting www.lacagelondon.com.