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 Folles is a hilarious, touching, thought-provoking story about family, homosexuality and tolerance. Loved by millions the world over, loathed by Christian Conservatives. Originally a French stage play written by Jean Poiret in 1973, a French/Italian movie version 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 and 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 popular, eponymous nightclub, "La Cage aux Folles" (pronounced 'la kahj o fall'), featuring drag acts — 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 head of the "Tradition, Family and Morality Party", which wants to close the local drag establishments. 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