The Best of Times Is Soon: Broadway La Cage Aux Folles Previews Begin November 2004

News   The Best of Times Is Soon: Broadway La Cage Aux Folles Previews Begin November 2004
La Cage Aux Folles, the hit musical comedy by Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein, will begin Broadway previews in November toward a December opening, at a Nederlander theatre to be announced, a spokesman confirmed.

There will be no out-of-town test for the new Jerry Zaks-directed staging, but the show comes with a pedigree: A reputation as a tuneful crowd-pleaser, to say nothing of 1984 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score (Jerry Herman, music and lyrics) and Best Book (Harvey Fierstein) — all of it inspired by Jean Poiret's French play of the same name (known widely as a 1978 French film), about a middle-aged gay couple confronting bigots who will become in-laws.

The source material was later made into a Hollywood film, "The Birdcage," but there has not yet been a screen version of the musical, which begat such songs as "I Am What I Am," "Look Over There," "Song on the Sand" and "The Best of Times."

The Palace Theatre, where the original production opened, has been widely rumored as the destination for the new production, but no official announcement has been made. Disney announced Aida would close at the Palace in September.

La Cage Aux Folles will be produced by Nederlander Presentations Inc. and Clear Channel Entertainment. Jerry Mitchell (Never Gonna Dance, The Full Monty) will choreograph.

Some 20 years before "Will and Grace," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and other mainstream shows about gay folk, La Cage Aux Folles was a Broadway and touring smash that didn't give a damn about being what it was — a musical comedy about a longtime gay partnership, Albin and Georges, set in and around a popular St. Tropez drag act nightclub billed in the title number as "bad and beautiful" and "baudy and bizarre." "I Am What I Am" became a defiant anthem in the gay community and beyond, and the core of the show's plot is about parental love and family loyalty.

In the plot, Albin and Georges' son announces he is getting married to the daughter of a local morals crusader.

The original production opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on Aug. 21, 1983. It ran for 1,761 performances.

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