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La Cage aux Folles comes to Singapore after nearly 30 years

The camp musical hit that won six Tony awards has taken its time getting to Singapore but the cast are sure that local audiences will embrace its message of acceptance and tolerance

The musical version of La Cage aux Folles will be performed for the first time in Singapore this month, nearly 30 years after it premiered on Broadway.

The Tony award-winning musical will be performed by Singapore’s W!ld Rice theater company between July 20 and August 4 at the Esplanade Theater.

The show is a comedy of errors about a middle aged theatrical gay couple with an adult son who has become engaged to the beautiful daughter of a conservative politician. One of the men is a drag queen and when it comes time to meet the parents, pretends to be his son's mother, but everything spins out of control.

La Cage aux Folles was first written as a stage play by the French writer Jean Poiret and went on to inspire a series of French films and a Hollywood adaptation, The Bird Cage, starring Robin Williams.

The musical version was written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman and was set in France but this production has been updated with a Singapore setting.

The cast includes a host of local actors including Ivan Heng, Hossan Leong, Karen Tan, Brendon Fernandez, Judee Tan and Tan Kheng Hua.

Malaysian actors Tony Eusoff and Aaron Khaled have also joined the cast, who are supported by a gender-bending international chorus line called the Cagelles who have been recruited from as far a field as the US, UK and Australia.

‘There is this silly idea that the LGBT community is an anathema to family or core values of society - as if we don't have families, or that we don't love our families,’ Ivan Heng told Fridae.

‘This is a musical that celebrates the idea of a loving family as we know it and experience it. We trust it will get people to open their eyes.’

Hossan Leong told Fridae he thought Singaporeans had moved to the point where they could embrace a musical like La Cage aux Folles.

‘I think Singaporeans, and audiences in general, are ready,’ Leong said, ‘I don’t know why people get shocked when we say we’re doing La Cage aux Folles.’

‘This show has so much heart, and so much to give. You’re talking about acceptance, and whether you can be happy with your life or not. It’s one of those musicals the whole family should come to watch.’

The show will go on at 8pm every night except for Mondays, with 3pm matinees on weekends.

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