Showbiz Nation LIVE! Interview with La Cage Aux Folles GENE WEYGANDT, DAVID HESS and JOE LEONARDO
GENE WEYGANDT, DAVID HESS and JOE LEONARDO discuss Marriott Theatre’s critically hailed production of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. For more information visit www.marriotttheatre.com. LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is the first show to ever win the Tony Award for Best Musical three times! With a hit film adaptation, The Birdcage, with Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES has become a classic musical comedy. Set against the glitter of a Saint-Tropez nightclub, a middle-aged gay couple agree to hide their relationship when their son returns home with his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents. Feathers get ruffled and households upended in a poignant tale of one family’s struggle to stay together, stay fabulous and above all else, stay true to themselves. With a score by Jerry Herman (MAME, HELLO, DOLLY!) and a book by Harvey Fierstein (NEWSIES, KINKY BOOTS) you’ll discover that “The Best of Times” is now!
GENE WEYGANDT: Marriott Theatre: City of Angels, Anything Goes, La Cage aux Folles, The Light in the Piazza, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone, Arthur, Phantom of The Country Palace, Victor Victoria, A Christmas Carol, and Married Alive. Also A Day In Hollywood and Me and My Girl for which he won Joseph Jefferson Awards. Other Credits: The Wizard of Oz in Wicked here in Chicago, and on Broadway. On Broadway he created the role of Paul in Big; the musical. On the NBC hit, “Chicago Fire,” he plays Chief Lionel Jones. www.geneweygandt.com
DAVID HESS: Marriott Theatre: La Cage aux Folles, Shenandoah (Charlie; Joseph Jefferson Best Actor Award)
Broadway: Sweeney Todd (Sweeney/Judge Turpin standby), Annie Get Your Gun (Frank Butler/Buffalo Bill standby). First National Tours: Sweeney Todd(Sweeney), Ragtime (Admiral Peary, Whitman). Carnegie Hall/Royal Albert Hall: Kristina (Daniel). Lincoln Center: Dessa Rose (Bertie). Off-Broadway: Prodigal. Regional theater: Jane Eyre (Rochester; San Francisco Bay Area Critics Best Actor Award, Goodman Choice Best Actor Award), Grand Hotel (Baron; Barrymore nominee), Sweet Charity (Vittorio; Iden Payne nominee). Film: New York Crossing, Tennessee Nights. TV: “The Americans”, “Elementary”, “The Good Wife”, “Royal Pains”. Toured South Africa and Europe for Travel Channel’s “Fantasy Rails for Millionaires” with his beautiful actress wife Joan Hess. www.DavidHess.info
JOE LEONARDO (Director) Marriott Theatre: The Light in the Piazza, Little Women, Brigadoon, Sunset Blvd., Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1979), Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (1988 and 1999), Funny Girl (1989), Me and My Girl, Sweet Charity, Grand Hotel-The Musical, The Goodbye Girl, La Cage aux Folles (1994), Eleanor, Miss Saigon, Bye Bye, Birdie, State Fair and the world premieres of Phantom of the Country Palace and Ms. Cinderella. National tours: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Me and My Girl, Ziegfeld: A Night at the Follies, City of Angels, Bully and Kiss Me, Kate. Other directing credits include: Willi Wonka (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Side Show and At Wit’s End (Northlight Theater), City of Angels and Marilyn, Madness and Me (Los Angeles), Man with a Load of Mischief (New York), It’s Better with a Band (New York, London, Philadelphia), At Wit’s End (Palm Beach, FL), Miss Saigon (Elmsford, N.Y.); The Balcony, The Winter’s Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, The Misanthrope, The Miser, Red Noses, and Arcadia (Philadelphia). Artistic director of NETworks: supervised eleven national tours and directed and co-created the circus/theater spectacular Cirque Ingenieux (televised on PBS). Laura Carnell professor emeritus of Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Chicagoland’s longest running musical theatre, The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL, kicks off their 40thanniversary 2015 season with one of Broadway’s all-time biggest hits, La Cage aux Folles. The 11-time Tony Award-winning musical, the first to win Best Musical three times, previews January 28, opens February 4, and runs through March 22. Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and inspiration for the popular film The Birdcage starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, the beloved musical features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (Mame, Hello Dolly!) and a book by Harvey Fierstein (Newsies, Kinky Boots). Multi-Jeff Award nominee Joe Leonardo (The Marriott Theatre: The Light in the Piazza, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon, Grand Hotel: The Musical, Sweeney Todd and Me and My Girl) directs. La Cage aux Folles stars Jeff Award-winners Gene Weygandt as “Albin” (Chicago Fire; National Tour of Wicked and Big: The Musical; The Marriott Theatre’s Me and My Girland A Day in Hollywood – A Night in the Ukraine) and David Hess as “Georges” (The Marriott Theatre’s Shenandoah; Broadway National Tours ofSweeney Todd and Annie Get your Gun), with Musical Direction by Ryan T. Nelson and the Marriott debut of Choreographer Melissa Zaremba.
Set against the glamorous background of a St. Tropez nightclub, Georges and Albin, two men partnered for better-or-worse, get a taste of both when Georges’ son Jean-Michel makes a shocking announcement: he plans to marry the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician. Chaos ensues when the two completely opposite families meet, and Albin’s familiar, flamboyant habits get in the way at every turn. Feathers get ruffled and households upended in this poignant tale of one family’s struggle to stay together, stay fabulous and above all else, stay true to themselves. A classic musical comedy, La Cage aux Folles brims with sparkling costumes, spectacular dance numbers and a glorious score including “The Best of Times,” “I Am What I Am,” and “The Song on the Sand.”
La Cage aux Folles also features Marriott favorite Brian Bohr as “Jean-Michel”, Elizabeth Telford as “Anne,” Joseph Anthony Byrd as “Jacob,”Susan Moniz as “Jacqueline,” Fred Zimmerman as “Edouard Dindon,” and Anne Gunn as “Marie Dindon.” Additional cast includes Larry Adams, Jameson Cooper, Clayton Cross, Adam Estes, Javier Ferreira, Emily Glick, Zachary L. Gray, Monique Haley, Jordan Fife Hunt, Raymond Interior, Jhardon DiShon Milton, Liz Norton, Jason Richards, J Tyler Whitmer.
Lead Artistic Director Aaron Thielen heads up the La Cage aux Folles production team. Set Design is by Tom Ryan, Costume Design by Nancy Missimi, Lighting Design by Jesse Klug, Sound Design by Bob Gilmartin and Properties Design by Sally Weiss.