Philip Quast and Douglas Hodge, the stars of two of London's biggest musicals of recent years, come together in La Cage Aux Folles at the Menier Chocolate Factory this Christmas. Quast and Hodge star alongside Tara Hugo, Neil McDermott and Jason Pennycooke in the musical that runs at the Menier between 23 November and 8 March. Terry Johnson directs.
La Cage Aux Folles is based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and 1978 screen version of the same name. It tells the story of gay couple Georges, who runs a nightclub, and Albin, his star drag performer. Their lives are shaken up when Georges's son announces his engagement to the daughter of very conservative parents.
Quast's last London outing came in Michael Grandage's revival of Evita, in which he played Juan Peron, a role for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. Quast has previously won three Best Actor in a Musical Laurence Olivier Awards for performances in South Pacific (2002), The Fix (1998) and Sunday In The Park With George (1991).
Hodge was new to musicals when he took the part of Nathan Detroit in Guys And Dolls, also directed by Grandage, when it was revived at the Piccadilly in 2005. He was a sparkling success in the genre, receiving a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for his efforts. Since then, Hodge has appeared in A Matter Of Life And Death at the National and directed Absurdia at the Donmar Warehouse.
Hugo is also no stranger to Laurence Olivier Award nominations, having one of her own for the Donmar production of The Threepenny Opera in 1995. More recently she has been seen on the big screen in films United 93 and Hellboy.
Until recently McDermott has been seen playing delivery boy turned Nazi sympathiser Rolf in The Sound Of Music. He has also appeared in Bad Girls (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Aladdin (Old Vic) and Henry IV (Donmar).
Pennycooke's talent has previously been put to good use both in front of audiences and behind the scenes. His London performance credits include The Rat Pack, The Big Life and Simply Heavenly, while he has also choreographed shows including Porgy And Bess.
La Cage Aux Folles has big boots to fill as a Menier Chocolate Factory musical production, as previous shows Little Shop Of Horrors and Sunday In The Park With George both transferred to the West End. Sunday In The Park With George went on to win five Laurence Olivier Awards.