Tony-winning musical ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ continues LDTC theater season
If you go
What: “La Cage Aux Folles,” part of the 2015 Lake Dillon Theatre Company season
When: Opening night is 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, with performances on select Tuesdays through Sundays through Sunday, Aug. 9
Where: Lake Dillon Theatre, 176 Lake Dillon Drive, Dillon
Cost: $33 to $36 for adults, $22 for students and $13 for children
More information: Visit www.lakedillontheatre.org for show times and tickets.
“Love. Family. Joy,” said Broadway veteran Nat Chandler as he described the substance of the musical “La Cage Aux Folles,” the newest offering from the Lake Dillon Theatre Company.
Originally produced in 1983, “La Cage Aux Folles” is the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical comedy based on the Jean Poiret play by the same name. The musical tells the story of lifelong partners Georges and Albin, who get a lesson in family dynamics when Georges’ now-grown son announces his unexpected engagement to the daughter of a bigoted politician. At the request of his love-struck son, Georges masquerades as “straight” when he meets the family of his son’s bride-to-be.
“‘La Cage Aux Folles’ is a big, classic Broadway musical comedy with wonderful music and memorable characters,” said Chris Alleman, LDTC producing artistic director, who directs the production. “It’s a major part of the American musical cannon, and we are very excited to produce (‘La Cage Aux Folles’) for the Summit County community.”
“At its heart, ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ is a love story,” said Chandler, who co-stars in the role of Georges. “Take away gender stereotypes, and it is still a story of love winning.”
Seating a cozy 70 patrons for each performance, Lake Dillon Theatre Company audiences are never more than a few feet from the action onstage.
“Our signature style is to present large musicals in our intimate venue,” Alleman said. “And the characters and their experiences really shine through in our setting.”
“The intimacy of Lake Dillon Theatre Company really brings what is most important about this show to the forefront, which is the love between George and Albin and the value of family, however you define it,” said Danny Vaccaro, who co-stars as Albin.
“Albin is a great, over-the-top, dramatic character. He is the emotional center of the show. It is a great challenge to be the big, bold character Albin is but keeping him real, grounded and loving.”
Joining Chandler and Vaccaro are returning Lake Dillon Theatre Company performers Justina Ercole (“Sweet Charity,” “Big River”), Victoria Bundonis (“Fox on the Fairway”) and Ian Coulter-Buford (“Take Flight”). Rounding out the diverse cast are Logan Scott Mitchell, Matthew Tyler Horn, Randy Dierkes, Matthew Aaron Liotine, Molly Mermelstein, Deon Olivero, Morgan Reynolds, Mark Woodard, Nick Hale and Andrea DeVriendt.
A recognizable story
“La Cage Aux Folles” is the third production of the Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s 21st season, featuring six diverse shows that feature recognizable characters in new contexts.
While the musical’s title may be familiar to some, most audiences will know the story, which was the basis for the 1996 Oscar-nominated film “The Birdcage,” starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams.
“The stage musical incorporates much more singing and dancing than (The Birdcage), but at the heart, the characters and story line are similar,” Alleman said.
“The choreography for this show is amazing,” said Mitchell, who plays Chantal and serves as the production’s dance captain. “It’s such a pleasure to perform (Adam Estes’) choreography because he’s given us movement that makes us feel strong and beautiful while also being incredibly fun.”
“La Cage Aux Folles” is more than 30 years old, but Alleman said the show is still topical and will feel fresh for audiences today.
“Revisiting a classic show like La Cage Aux Folles is exciting today because of where our nation sits on some of the broader issues,” Alleman said. “It’s certainly not a political show, but we hope our production can add to the cultural dialogue while also being highly entertaining.”
“La Cage is still relevant because its story, while quirky, resonates with anyone who has ever needed more love, acceptance and glitter,” Mitchell said.
Love, family and joy
“At its core, I think this show is about love: romantic love, family love and self love,” said Ercole, who plays Ann. “If you strip away all of the heightened circumstances of the show, you’re left with that universal message.”
“This show is about family, and all of the unique ways that we connect with each other on an intimate level,” Mitchell said. “The show also explores how we hide ourselves, how others try to force us to hide and, ultimately, how illusions affect our life.”
“For all of its flash, this show is really about family,” Vacarro said. “There is a traditional definition and a more realistic definition that is constantly growing. Thankfully, it’s been a good 30 years for the expansion of the definition of ‘family.’”
Fulfilling its mission to provide “something for everyone,” Alleman said “La Cage Aux Folles” has all the elements that appeal to diverse audiences and more.
“This is not your average Broadway musical,” Chandler said. “It is a hilarious comedy, a poignant drama and morality tale all rolled into one. It is also a show which has some of the most memorable music Jerry Herman ever wrote.”
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