Cage aux Folles

Cage aux Folles

3.0 2
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

For songwriter Jerry Herman, the challenge of a new Broadway musical is to find a fresh way to frame his admittedly old-fashioned, show biz approach to creating traditional entertainment. Through three consecutive flops, Dear World (1969), Mack & Mabel (1974), and The Grand Tour (1979), after his two massive hits Hello, Dolly! (1964) and See more details below

Overview

For songwriter Jerry Herman, the challenge of a new Broadway musical is to find a fresh way to frame his admittedly old-fashioned, show biz approach to creating traditional entertainment. Through three consecutive flops, Dear World (1969), Mack & Mabel (1974), and The Grand Tour (1979), after his two massive hits Hello, Dolly! (1964) and Mame (1966), Herman failed in that endeavor, meanwhile watching rivals Stephen Sondheim perfect the "concept" musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber the rock musical. But with La Cage aux Folles, Herman became newly current and even politically courageous, to some extent because of events taking place outside the theater. When the French-Italian film adaptation of Jean Poiret's play became a big box office hit in the late '70s, it was a conventional farce with a typically Gallic twist, the old son-of-bohemian-parents-brings-his-fiance-and-her-straitlaced-parents-to-visit story, in this case with the bohemian parents being a gay couple who run a nightclub for female impersonators in St. Tropez. What happened in the years between the film's success and the opening of the musical on August 21, 1983, however, was the AIDS crisis, with the consequent galvanizing of the gay community, especially in New York. Thus, the show became not just a musical comedy, but also a statement of gay pride, with a script by up-and-coming gay playwright Harvey Fierstein and a score by Herman that, even if it was typically tame musically, was full of the same subtext, as, for instance, Albin (George Hearn) defiantly sang the anthem "I Am What I Am," speaking not just for female impersonators on the French Riviera, but for gay people everywhere. And if "The Best of Times" was another of Herman's catchy, yet sing-songy production numbers, its line, "As for tomorrow, well, who knows?," spoke to listeners fearful of imminent death from an untreatable illness. All of which is to say that Herman found that fresh context for his usual shtick, even if it was a dark one. But the context added weight, making La Cage aux Folles the musical more substantial than the play or film. And it helped that Hearn could be both giddy and assertive, while his partner, the TV actor Gene Barry, surprisingly could sing. The result was Herman's biggest hit in years. The 2008 reissue of the cast album contains a bonus track in which the songwriter recalls how he came to work on the show and to write "I Am What I Am."

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/1990
Label:
Rca Victor Broadway
UPC:
0078635482423
catalogNumber:
14824

Related Subjects

Tracks

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gene Barry   Vocals,Track Performer
David Cahn   Vocals
David Engel   Vocals
Eric W. Lamp   Vocals
David Evans   Vocals
Jay Garner   Vocals,Track Performer
William Thomas   Vocals
George Hearn   Vocals,Track Performer
Jim Tyler   Performing Ensemble
Frank Dipasquale   Vocals
Jack Neubeck   Vocals
Elizabeth Parrish   Vocals
Mark Waldrop   Vocals
Jennifer Smith   Vocals
Merle Louise   Vocals,Track Performer
Jon Weiner   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Don Pippin   Director,Vocal Arrangements
Paul Goodman   Engineer
Kevin Johnson   Composer
Tommy Shepard   Producer
Harvey Fierstein   Liner Notes
Thomas Z. Shepard   Producer
J.J. Stelmach   Art Direction
Bill Berta   Artwork,Cover Art

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >