It’s a choice role for any actor, and one Roy Lewis has wanted the chance to play for many years.
“Albin has so many layers. He’s a flamboyant, stereotypical gay man, but he’s also sacrificed and committed to a relationship,” said Lewis, who plays Albin in The Augusta Players’ upcoming production of La Cage aux Folles.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at Imperial Theatre. Tickets are $17 to $43 from (706) 826-4707 or www.augustaplayers.org.
The story centers on Albin, a drag performer known as ZaZa, and his partner, Georges, who runs the nightclub Albin works in. Matters get complicated when Georges’ son from a one-night fling announces he’s getting married.
Georges agrees to appear straight for the meeting of the bride’s family, but Albin has other plans.
“It’s loads of fun. There’s a full range of emotions in the characters,” said Dave Bellmer, who plays Georges.
This is the first time The Players have attempted La Cage, said director Richard Justice. With a musical score written by Hello Dolly and Mame composer Jerry Herman, La Cage aux Folles is based on a French play of the same name. It won a Tony Award in 1984 as best musical. It was adapted into a film called The Birdcage in 1996 starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams.
The musical has plenty of “hummable” material, and in keeping with its characters, it features lots of splashy costumes, sets and dance numbers, according to Justice.
Lewis has nine costume changes during the show. For other performers, the costumes are over-the-top showgirl-style ensembles The Players are renting to provide the full effect.
“Costumes don’t usually take that big of a role in a play, but in this one they do,” Justice said.
While the show has its fun, even farcical, moments, there is more to this show than that, said Lewis. “It’s a love story” at its heart, he said.
That might come as a surprise to some audience members. Justice said those who’ve never seen the show might have a preconceived notion.
“It’s good clean fun. A lot of people think it’s bawdy, but it’s as fluffy as they come,” he said.