Theatre Preview: Richmond Triangle Players’ “La Cage aux Folles”
Few productions bring glitz and glamor as effortlessly to the stage as “La Cage aux Folles.” Based off of Jean Poiret’s 1973 play of the same name, the show has spawned countless productions, revivals, two feature films, and is the only show in Broadway history to win both the Best Musical Revival and Best Production Tony Awards.
Now Richmond Triangle Players is preparing to close out their spectacular twentieth anniversary season with its own adaptation of Harvey Fierstein’s recent revival.
Based in picturesque Saint-Tropez, the story follows gay nightclub owners Georges and his partner Albin (who also headlines as the club’s star female impersonator, Zaza) as they prepare to welcome their son, his fiancée, and her ultra-conservative family to dinner.
“It’s a show we wanted to do for ever and ever and ever,” says Richmond Triangle Players’ managing director Philip Crosby, “and we always thought it was far too big because the original Broadway production was huge and a big spectacle.” However, after the show’s latest revision and a performance at a small theater in London, Crosby saw a different way of looking at the production.
“It doesn’t sound huge but in our little theater that’s a lot of folks to put on stage. There’s a lot of costumes, a lot of changes, and there’s a lot of different locations that happen in the course of the show,” says Crosby. Set designer Frank Foster has painstakingly crafted a set that peels back layers like a Chinese puzzle box, transporting the audience from the family’s nightclub to their apartment, a seaside resort, and back again in a brilliantly conceived achievement of set design.
Despite being a nearly forty-year-old show, “La Cage aux Folles” has a voice that is still relevant today. “It’s particularly timely as we’re looking at the Supreme Court sort of deciding who gets to marry and who doesn’t, and what is a family,” Crosby notes. “This whole show is about family. It’s an unconventional family, but I think we’re still questioning what makes a family and who should be raising children. I feel like it’s still really pertinent.”
The cast, lead by renowned director Joe Pabst, features local favorites Kirk Morton and Matt Beyer in the leading roles of Albin and Georges, respectively, and includes a huge cavalcade of local talent. “It’s marvelous that with such a large cast they’ve really become a family,” says Crosby. “There’s the family some of us are born to, and then there’s the family you choose. And the family you choose sometimes is more loyal to you than the family you’re born to, which is a message I hope people will take away with them.”
Performances begin May 16th and run through June 16th at the RTP Theatre, located at 1300 Altamont Avenue. Tickets can be purchased at www.rtriangle.org, or by calling the RTP Ticket Hotline at 804-346-8113.
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