Two Barrington High School seniors are bringing the smash Broadway musical, “La Cage aux Folles,” to the library auditorium next spring as their senior project.
You may recognize the musical as the movie, “The Birdcage,” a remake of the international stage hit. It starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
“We’re bringing Broadway to Barrington,” said Michael Caizzi, who is teaming up with his longtime friend, Karl Aspelund, to produce four performances in late April and early May.
Karl will serve as producer; Michael will handle stage design.
“We have different roles,” Karl said. “We’ve never done this before.”
The teens also will direct and act in the multi-award winning comedy based on a successful French stage play that depicts the chaos resulting from a gay man attempting to pose as straight for the benefit of his son's future ultra-conservative in-laws.
Karl will play “Georges,” the owner of a gay nightclub, and Michael will play “Albin,” a drag queen who is the star of the show and Georges’ romantic partner.
“Who else could play those roles but us?” said Michael.
The seniors will be looking for at least 17 other cast members. They plan to hold auditions in December and pick a cast in early January. Rehearsals will begin soon after those dates and wrap around a Stagemasters’ performance in the spring.
“We’re not trying to compete,” said Michael, who has performed in numerous Stagemasters’ plays along with Karl.
Michael's mentor for the senior project is Karl's father, a URI professor, designer and teacher with 20 years of experience in theater, film, graphic design, art direction, and artwork. Karl's mentor is Dena Davis, the artistic director for Arts Alive! in Barrington.
Karl and Michael also must come up with $2,300 by the end of this month to pay the license fees for the rights to put on the show and buy the musical score.
“La Cage has never been done at the high school level,” said Michael, so their fees were reduced.
The size of the auditorium, 105 seats, is much smaller than the high school auditorium, which also helped to slice the license fees to a manageable amount.
“We actually like the auditorium better,” said Michael. “It’s more of an intimate club atmosphere.”
They’ve raised about $1,100 so far primarily through posts on Facebook and donations from family members and friends they’ve made over the years through the Barrington Community Theater, the high school drama club, and Arts Alive – the elementary-age theater organization in Barrington.
“We’ve done that in about two weeks,” said Karl of the $1,100 raised so far, “so we’re feeling pretty good about it with three weeks to go.”
Donors will get tickets to the show and their names printed on donor boards, said Michael. Money from ticket sales and concessions will be donated “to the arts in Barrington and the Gay Straight Alliance at the high school.”
The theme of the musical deals “with acceptance” of gays and their lifestyle, said Michael. Don’t expect any sex or nudity.
“Were not trying to shock Barrington,” said Karl. “The show is not like that.”