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Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of La Cage aux Folles

The original Broadway production of La Cage aux Folles opened at the Palace Theatre August 21, 1983. The musical, featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, played 15 previews and 1,761 performances before closing November 15, 1987. The production would go on to earn nine Tony Award nominations, winning six including Best Musical.

Based on the French play of the same name, La Cage aux Folles tells the story of the story of a flamboyant gay couple who must pretend to be straight for one night — with one of the men in drag — to dupe the conservative political family of their son’s fiancee. In a time when homosexuality had yet to become the basis of a big Broadway musical, La Cage proved to be a huge success

READ: Inside the Risky, First Out-of-Town Preview of La Cage aux Folles That Put a Gay Love Story Center Stage

The production starred George Hearn as Albin, Gene Barry as Georges, Jay Garner as Edouard Dindon, John Weiner as Jean-Michel, Elizabeth Parrish as Jacqueline, Leslie Stevens as Anne, William Thomas, Jr. as Jacob, Merle Louise as Mme. Dindon, Walter Charles as M. Renaud, Brian Kelly as Francis, Sydney Anderson as Mme. Renaud, David Cahn as Chantal, Dennis Callahan as Monique, Betsy Craig as Paulette, Frank Di Pasquale as Dermah, John Dolf as Nicole, David Engel as Hanna, David Evans as Mercedes, Linda Haberman as Bitelle, Eric Lamp as Lo Singh, Jack Neubeck as Hercule, Dan O’Grady as Odette, Deborah Phelan as Angelique, Jay Pierce as Etienne, Marie Santell as Babette, David Scala as Phaedra, Sam Singhaus as Clo-Clo, Jennifer Smith as Colette, Mark Waldrop as Tabarro, and Ken Ward as Pepe, with Jamie Ross, Bob Brubach, Drew Geraci, Jan Leigh Herndon, and Leslie Simons as swings.

Directed by Arthur Laurents with choreography by Scott Salmon, the production featured scenic design by David Mitchell, costume design by Theoni V. Aldredge, lighting design by Jules Fisher, and sound design by Peter J. Fitzgerald with stage management by Fritz Holt, James Pentecost, and David Caine.

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