Hit Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles to open in Melbourne

Michael-Cormick-and-Paul-Capsis-in-La-Cage-Aux-Folles-photo-by-John-McRaeThe hit Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles will open in Melbourne for a strictly limited season at Arts Centre Melbourne from 9 November 2023.

The much-loved musical will star one of Australia’s most versatile stage and screen performers, five-time Helpmann Award winner Paul Capsis in the lead role of Albin and internationally renowned singer and actor Michael Cormick (Beauty and The Beast, The Phantom Of The Opera) as his husband Georges.

The original 1983 Broadway production ran for more than four years and won six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. The success of the musical spawned a West End production and several international tours as well as the box-office smash-hit film The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.

Subsequent revivals have garnered considerable success, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in both 2004 and 2010, as well as the Olivier Award in London for Best Musical Revival in 2008.

“I am overjoyed to be bringing our production of La Cage aux Folles to Arts Centre Melbourne, it’s such a beautiful story with a timeless message of acceptance and love of who you are,” said producer David M. Hawkins.

“Paul Capsis is one of our greatest artists, he is a scream as Albin, hearing him act those lyrics of I Am What I Am makes one realize how far we have come as a community, but also how much further we still need to go. Couple that with the rich luscious voice of Michael Cormick and it’s a match made in showbiz heaven.”

La Cage Aux Folles is a fully Australian created production, led by exciting young Melbourne director Riley Spadaro with inspired choreography by Veronica Beattie George. I have adored bringing this to the stage and can’t wait for it to play our beloved theatre capital Melbourne,” said Mr Hawkins.

A traditional Broadway musical with big, brassy dance numbers, La Cage Aux Folles was considered revolutionary in many ways when opening on Broadway in 1983, breaking down barriers for gay representation by becoming the first hit Broadway musical centred on a homosexual relationship.

The show’s act one finale, I Am What I Am, received praise as a “gay anthem” and has been widely recorded, most notably by Gloria Gaynor.

Based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, La Cage aux Folles boasts infectious melodies by Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly, Mame) and a hysterical book by Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots, Torch Song Trilogy).

The show tells the story of a gay couple who run a St Tropez drag club and when their (heterosexual) son brings his fiancée’s ultraconservative parents for dinner, chaos and hilarity ensues.

This production, by Showtune Productions, opened to rave reviews at the State Theatre in Sydney earlier this year with direction by Riley Spadaro (The Italians, This Bitter Earth), and choreography by Veronica Beattie George (The Boy From Oz, Guys and Dolls). Further casting announcements will be made in the coming months.

“Capsis is perfectly matched by Michael Cormick who offers a superb performance as the suave, handsome, unflappable Georges.” – Australian Arts Review

Director: Riley Spadaro | Choreography: Veronica Beattie George | Musical Direction: Craig Renshaw | Set Design: Grace Deacon | Lighting Design: Phoebe Pilcher | Design Associate and Costumes: Jozef Zoda | Wigs and Make-up Design: Drew-Elizabeth Johnstone | Producer: David M. Hawkins – Showtune Productions

La Cage Aux Folles
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 9 – 19 November 2023
Information and Bookings: www.lacage.com.au (tickets on sale 1 August)

Image: Michael Cormick and Paul Capsis in La Cage Aux Folles – photo by John McRae