When two worlds collide, feathers can fly! TaDa! Events brings La Cage Aux Folles to the stage and Mark Murphy, who once flew the nest, returns in fine ‘Zaza’ style
If you haven’t seen the stage production of La Cage Aux Folles, chances are you’ve seen the film version starring the late, great Robin Williams and the delightful Nathan Lane.
The film, titled The Birdcage, follows George (Williams), the owner of a glitzy drag nightclub, and Albin (Lane), his partner and the club’s star attraction. When their son, Jean-Michel, announces he’s returning home with his new fiancée and her ultra-conservative parents in tow, it’s all a good water-proof mascara can stand and limits are tested.
Now, Terri Andrews and TaDa! Events are bringing the stage production to life at The Arts & Culture Centre in St. John’s March 12-14, and feathers will fly. With a star studded cast, from NTV’s own Amanda Mews to a thrilling array of singers, dancers, actors, musicians as well as some of the city’s most glamorous drag queens, including Irma Gerd and Shea Muah, La Cage Aux Folles is hilarity and heartwarming fun for the entire family.
Another reason this show is guaranteed to be a must see is the star of the show, versatile singer/actor Mark Murphy. Murphy’s return to this province, after more than a decade performing in Europe, couldn’t possibly be more glamourous and delightful.
Taking on the role Lane played in the film adaptation, Murphy is guaranteed to delight as the dramatic Albin and the incomparable show stopper Zaza.
The show must go on
While the weather has been a bit of a downer to say the least, art’s supporter and promoter Sheilagh Guy Murphy shares, the show must go on, adding, ‘‘Neither rain nor sleet nor snowmageddon will stop a Tada! Events Show.”
Murphy laughs. “It’s been interesting returning home, to say the least,” he opens cheerfully. With rehearsals, including glorious costume fittings and full make-up rehearsals, in full swing, Murphy says the excitement is building.
“It’s really exciting. It’s a lot of fun and I’m learning a lot from some great colleagues and just having a great time.”
Murphy, who studied in Boston and performed on stages throughout Europe, has had, as he puts it, “a wild ride” of a career thus far. Still, starring on the stage at home in La Cage takes the proverbial cake.
“I have traveled and got to see a lot and had many fabulous experiences, but with family here in Newfoundland getting older and nieces and nephews growing up … the show has to go on no matter what’s happening.”
‘A wild ride’
Feeling he was missing too much, he returned, and boy, is he glad he did. The transformation into Zaza, for one thing, has been quite the experience.
“I didn’t have a mirror in front of me, so I really had no idea what I was going to look like. Transforming into a women, I disappear and Zaza is there, which was fascinating to me.”
Even his own family didn’t recognize him when he showed them ‘after’ pictures. “Friends and family said, ‘who’s that beautiful woman?’ That’s me. ‘No, no, not you.’ And it was,” he laughed.
But beyond the costumes and the lipstick, Murphy calls the show “phenomenal and a treat.”
“The character of Albin, he’s over the top. He will always put somebody else ahead of himself, except when it’s time to go on stage, then he knows he needs to be perfect and he will do what needs to be done to be perfect on stage. That side of him I can relate to because when you step on a stage the audience is hoping that it’s going to be a great show and you have to deliver.”
Then, there’s Zaza. “She’s much more calm and elegant. She’s very much a veteran of the stage.”
When it all comes together, magic happens. What’s one of the coolest things? It’s that this is the show he gets to return to a Newfoundland stage for. “There’s a whole lot of excitement. This production is taking musicals and theatre to an entirely new level of thrilling, and audiences will absolutely love it.”
For tickets visit artsandculturecentre.com. For more info see tadaevents.c