Based on a French film by Jean Poiret, La Cage Aux Folles
tells the story of Albin and Georges, two middle-aged homosexual
lovers who run a transvestite nightclub in St. Tropez. The plot
revolves primarily around the complications that develop when
their son announces that he is getting married--to a woman! And
not only a woman, but the daughter of a local morals crusader!
Although La Cage was Broadway's first homosexual musical,
it was nevertheless a mainstream production. Director Arthur
Laurents didn't allow his lead characters so much as a peck on
the cheek for fear that he might offend his audience. Still,
La Cage proved wildly successful with critics and audiences
alike and opened the door for other musicals such as Falsettos
and Rent which would further
explore the homosexual landscape.
The original production--which featured George Hearn and Gene
Barry--opened at the Palace Theatre on August 21, 1983. The show
was destined to become the biggest new American musical of the
decade. The original run included 1,761 performances and spawned
numerous touring companies. "I Am What I Am" was recorded
by Gloria Gaynor and proved to be one of her biggest hits.