With Delaware recently legalizing gay marriage, it seems like Clear Space Theatre Company's new comedic musical "La Cage aux Folles," one that revolves around a gay couple and drag queens, couldn't come at a more significant time.
"La Cage" is headlined by female impersonator Christopher Peterson (as Albin) and the show opens Thursday (which is already sold out) at Clear Space in Rehoboth Beach. Tickets for Friday's and Saturday's show are still available, but they're selling quickly. The final show date for "La Cage" is Aug. 29.
The birds are singing. Flowers are blooming. And lately, love has been consuming every molecule of air Jean-Michel has been inhaling. Engaged to his fiancé, Anne Dindon, Jean-Michel is floating on cloud nine. But he falls back to Earth when Dindon, who comes from an ultra-conservative family, requests to meet her future parents in-law, who just so happen to be gay. Jean-Michel still hasn't broken the news to Dindon as he fears his untraditional family wouldn't be accepted by his in-laws.
Since there's no chance in Haiti he's going to come clean with Dindon, he tells his father, Georges, who he lives with, and Georges' lover/roommate, Albin, to pretend to play it straight when meeting his girl and her family.
As for Jean-Michel's untraditional family, his father, Georges, is a former dancer who had fathered him after a one-night fling in his younger days, back when he was still trying to find himself. Albin, meanwhile, stars as the drag queen "Zaza" at La Cage aux Folles, a notorious gay nightclub known for its female impersonators.
"La Cage" artistic director Doug Yetter has been moved by the show since he first saw it on Broadway more than 30 years ago with his then wife. When Yetter watched on Broadway, he discovered his life was playing out in front of him.
"For so many guys in [the Rehoboth] community and women, too, there was a time when all of us were really expected to get married [to someone of the opposite sex]; so all of us got married," said Yetter, 56 of Rehoboth, who was raised by conservative parents in Colorado. "And you reach a point where you go, 'it's time for me to be honest.'"
At the heart of "La Cage" lies a story that's "not about tolerance, but of acceptance," Yetter believes. And it shows that "families could be made up of anything," he added.
Yetter's point that families don't always need to be made up of a mom and dad is a message Peterson, who's also gay, wants to stress in the show.
"We're all looking for love in life," Peterson, 50, of Key West, Fla., said. "So defining family as one thing isn't what the 21st century is about anymore."
Page 2 of 2 - IF YOU GO
WHAT “La Cage aux Folles”
WHEN Opens 7:30 p.m., Saturday; final show date is Aug. 29
WHERE Clear Space Theatre Company, 20 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach
COST $30 general; $25 senior (60 and older); $15 student/child (including college students)
INFO clearspacetheatre.org or call 227-2270