TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 1983, the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical La Cage aux Folles opens tonight at Broadway’s Palace Theatre. George Hearn and Gene Barry star in this adaptation of the classic French play and film about a middle-aged homosexual couple who are forced to hide their sexual orientation in order to meet the fiancee of one of the men’s sons, and her family. In pure musical comedy fashion, mayhem pursues. In a time when homosexuality had yet to become the basis of a big Broadway musical, La Cage proved to be a raging success, winning the Tony Award for best musical, and racking up 1,761 performances. Over the course of the run other actors who would play either Albin or George were Larry Kert, Jamie Ross, Walter Charles and Keith Michell.
Ethel Merman and Carol Burnett belt the shit out of songs like “There is No Tune Like a Show Tune”, “I Feel a Song Coming On”, “From this Moment On”, “Hello Dolly”, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and so much more. There’s a mash-up of “Luck Be a Lady Tonight” and “Johnny One Note”
TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 1966, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee work with composer Jerry Herman to make a musical out of Patrick Dennis’ book (and their 1956 play) about life with his auntie. Starring Angela Lansbury, Mame runs for 1,508 performances at the Winter Garden and Broadway Theatres in New York.