PLAYBILL PICKS: Timeless Love Affairs on Stage

By Robert Simonson
13 Feb 2014

Christopher Sieber and Harvey Fierstein
photo by Joan Marcus

La Cage aux Folles

The Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical that put a gay family front and center premiered in the early years of New York City's AIDS crisis on Aug. 9, 1983, at the Palace Theatre. Herman's ever-memorable melodies thread the love story of female performance artist Georges and club owner Albin, who momentarily attempt to appropriate a "normal" home life as their son brings home his new fiancee and her conservative parents. The deeply romantic ballads "Song on the Sand" and "Look Over There" stood as testaments to true love no matter the gender, and the anthem "I Am What I Am" was a declaration that the gay identity was ascending its place in mainstream culture. Helmed by the late Arthur Laurents, La Cage won six 1984 Tony Awards, including Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.