Eventually I was going to have to mention that I work at Samuel French. SF is a play publisher and licensing house. This means that theaters, churches or schools apply to us for performance rights for any of the titles in our catalogue. Recently we were astonished when a public school in New York City (less than a mile from Broadway) was approved to perform La Cage Aux Folles.
We were suprised not only someone so near would be approved, not only that a school with kids aged 7-12 was doing La Cage, But also …because it was school for children with special needs. All of my office mates wanted to go, but I was really torn from the beginning. I wanted to absolutely make sure that we weren’t attending in a mean spirited way. I went.
Before the curtain the director made a very impassioned speech at the beginning explaining to the roomful of parents WHY she had chosen to do La Cage aux Folles with Middle-School kids. She spoke out against gay slurs and general intolerance of difference. After a short scene inwhich young kids simulated calling each other fags on the playground the director resumed her talk, and explained that her greatest gift to these children would be to teach them that EVERYONE operates differently, but that doesn’t mean that ANYONE is less.
I was really moved by how she pulled everything together and later on I was really effected by the 12 year old boy from a special needs school singing I am what I am…but I did laugh. a lot. Not at the kids, but at the show itself. This school and changed, rearranged, added and cut and insane amount of material. To give you a slight idea…here is the songlist from the evening:
We Are Family*
The Way you Make Me Feel**
With You on my Arm***
I Am What I am***
Look Over There***
Best of Times is Now***
We Are Family (Reprise)*
I Am What I Am (Reprise)***
Human Nature (Reprise)**
KEY for Song credit:
***Jerry Herman (the creator of La Cage Aux Folles)
****The Jackson 5
This show was hysterical. Aside from the fact that the whole show ended with the a reprise of Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, I most enjoyed “ABC” which was actually sung outside the story arc of La Cage by a student who was was discontent with the casting of “spring play twenty-ten” and wanted a solo although cast in the ensemble. this was all explained in the preceding monologue. How Meta!