Theatre: La Cage aux folles

La Romance...
La Spectacle...
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I beg you, open your eyes, for you have arrived...at La Cage aux Folles."
Georges

With a book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and music by Jerry Herman, La Cage aux Follesnote  is a hilarious, touching, thought-provoking story about family and tolerance. Loved by billions the world over and naturally loathed by Christian Conservatives. Originally a French stage play written by Jean Poiret which debuted in 1973, a French/Italian movie adaptation was released in 1978 which was eventually Americanized as the 1996 hit comedy film, The Birdcage. This entry concerns both the American musical adaptation, which had its first production on Broadway in 1983 as well as the 1978 French/Italian film.

Set in Saint-Tropez, France along the French Riviera, the story centers around a gay couple, Georges and Albin. Georges is the manager of the eponymous, popular nightclub, "La Cage aux Folles" (roughly translated as "The Cage with Crazy Women")note , featuring drag entertainment including Albin as Zaza, the headlining star. Georges has a son, Jean-Michel, who was conceived during a past one-time heterosexual liaison with a woman named Sybil. Jean-Michel has recently become engaged to a woman named Anne Dindon. However, Anne's father unfortunately happens to be Edouard Dindon, the Deputy General of "Tradition, Family and Morality Party", which aims to close the local drag establishments among other things. So when Anne's parents wish to meet Jean-Michel's parents, Georges tries to persuade Albin to tone it down, and at first Albin plays along, but it turns out he just can't play it straight. So Sybil is to take the place of Albin for a dinner with Anne's family, but when she's late, Albin decides to dress in drag for the dinner...

The show is best known for its ground-breaking presentation of a happy established gay couple, and for its proud message of tolerance (though ironically, for fear of offending any in the audience who disagree with the point of the movie, the couple never kisses or does anything more). Georges and Albin are shown to be a generous, loving couple capable of caring for a child and for one another. It has been a success on Broadway (and recently in the West End) and the song "I Am What I Am" has become a rallying cry of the Gay Pride movement.


La Cage aux Folles provides examples of the following tropes:


We are what we are...

Alternative Title(s):

La Cage Aux Folles