Why has there never been a film version of the musical LA CAGE?

rorschach37
Broadway Star
joined:4/3/10
I'm aware of the French film based on the original play and the American remake of that film starring Robin Williams, but there's never been a film version of the musical and I really can't understand why. It's such a great musical. The songs, themes, story, plot, characters, everything about it is phenomenal. Not to mention the issues explored in the musical are still being dealt with today, so I think it could be a potentially successful film. Anyone agree?
RainbowJude
Stand-by
joined:11/14/09
The time for that film has come and gone, I think. It should have been made instead of the American remake.
Musical Cyberspace: a tribute to the musicals of Broadway and beyond.
taboo123
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
mmmmm

who would you cast?

that Travolta---he would be darling for this.

(and that's why I hope it doesn't happen)
rorschach37
Broadway Star
joined:4/3/10
I think the cast of The Birdcage would've been phenomenal for a musical film. Granted I don't know if all of them can sing, but I think Robin Williams and Nathan Lane had perfect chemistry with each other.
gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined:5/1/05
I'm rather surprised some of that old black magic called stunt casting didn't come into play when the revival needed to stay open, and put Williams and Lane in the show.
"There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from." ~ Charles M. Schulz
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
I agree that BIRDCAGE took the place of a film version of the stage LA CAGE. Movie musicals were pretty rare in the 1990s, as I recall.

Everyone should see the original film. It's a true French face and not just a lot of exaggerated stereotypes like BIRDCAGE. One of the funniest films I've ever seen.

But I think the story's day has passed. Yes, children are still embarrassed by their parents. But children having GAY parents is no longer unusual. Throw in our tabloid culture and I don't see the son of semi-famous gay parents (they are entertainers, after all) thinking he can hide them.

And frankly, even by the time of BIRDCAGE, I thought the son was an insufferable twit for doing what he does to his dads. Back in 1978, I was more sympathetic to his concerns.
Updated On: 2/25/12 at 04:01 PM
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
...the fact that neither of Herman's other two big hits weren't successful as films probably hurt it, as well. And, of his big three, I'd say La Cage is the least known.
ChenoKahn
Broadway Star
joined:6/12/11
The other two are also terrible movies. I am not a fan of La Cage Aux Folles though.
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
But Hollywood thinks, "Two Jerry Herman musical adaptations not only flopped, but embarrassed their studios."
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
I remember there was some confusion around the time of the Mike Nichols film that it would be an adaptation of the musical.
I doubt it'll ever happen, the Nichols film (as problematic as it is) is really funny and was a big hit, I can't imagine a studio putting money into a re-make. I think this is a show that would actually benefit quite well from the Rob Marshall treatment, however, it'd be way too hard to replace the cast from the American version that featured Williams, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Calista Flockhart, and Christine Baranski at the top of their game.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
Kad, I think you are 100% right about thinking in Hollywood, but I must admit that for all its problems, I end up re-watching HELLO, DOLLY! every time it is on TV. On the whole, the musical numbers really hold up well.
broadwaybabywannabe2
Featured Actor
joined:11/9/11
MAME flopped on film truly because of LUCILLE BALL...she was beyond terrible...the musical is a great musical, and if they had chosen ANGELA LANSBURY for the lead in the film, i think we would be thinking totally different about JERRY HERMAN musicals and film versions...and by the way HELLO DOLLY with BABS was a huge hit and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Film that year...and the musical numbers do hold i think very well...WALTER MATTHAU was the worst choice to play opposite BABS...
ChenoKahn
Broadway Star
joined:6/12/11
Hello Dolly! wasn't a huge hit it made some money but not a lot. Calling it a flop is also inaccurate.
charlesjguiteau
Leading Actor
joined:5/14/11
The irony of Mike Nichols directing The Birdcage film is that he was originally the impetus to get the stage musical going back in '81 or '82, with a score by Maury Yeston to be set in New Orleans. That script existed with Nichols to produce (and I think direct as well) before the Fierstein- Herman collaboration ever existed.
gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined:5/1/05
^ The Queen of Basin Street, right?
"There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from." ~ Charles M. Schulz
SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
Yes, guiteau, Arthur Laurents talks about it in his book.
devonian.t
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/04
And didn't Sondheim write songs cut from The Birdcage?
philcrosby
Broadway Legend
joined:2/17/04
Sondheim wrote several new songs for "The Birdcage" but only snippets were used.

There was some talk of a movie version of "La Cage" when the original production opened ... even Sinatra expressed interest. Then AIDS hit kids. And that doomed the project much more than the unpopularity of the film musical did.
dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
I actually think it could work given the political climate right now and questions regarding same-sex marriage. (I love the music, too, I'll admit it.) That said, I can't begin to think of who I'd cast.
EponineAmneris
Broadway Legend
joined:5/25/06
THE BIRDCAGE was pure magic, that's why

No, really... I'm not sure why, it's hard to say.

But I'd LOVE to hear Nathan Lane sing I AM WHAT I AM
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
^^^Why? What did Nathan Lane ever do to you? God, I hate that song!

Gay parents in red states aren't just a gimmick invented by GLEE. We no longer expect a young man to ask his future in-laws for his fiancee's hand or otherwise seek their formal approval.

We've had an uber-conservative vice president with an openly gay daughter in Dick Cheney. Didn't hurt his career one whit. He even actively lobbied Maryland legislators to pass their recent gay marriage equality bill. (Doesn't mean his karmic debt is repaid, but it's a start.)

The daughter of John McCain, the last GOP nominee, quite openly supports marriage equality as well.

My sister in Indiana has more openly gay friends than straight. And no, she isn't in show business.

Polls now show a slight majority of Americans favoring marriage equality. Despite his best efforts to create a wedge issue, it's hard to believe Rick Santorum's career would be derailed if his daughter married the heterosexual son of gay parents.

As I said, I found the dramatic situation dated by the time BIRDCAGE came out. It's even creakier now.

(ETA and come to think of it, at least in the films, it's not just the gayness of his fathers that the son tries to hide. He also asks his mother to pretend to be still married to his father, so he feels a need to hide their divorce. In 2012? I don't think so.)
Updated On: 2/27/12 at 03:10 PM
philcrosby
Broadway Legend
joined:2/17/04
Gaveston, I think that's why this last revival set the show clearly in the 1970s. Not because the world was more conservative (it was in many ways far more liberal), but because peoples' attitudes towards homosexuality weren't quite so evolved.
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
That makes a lot more sense, Phil. I remember the 70s quite well. Yes, it was more liberal in some respects, but gay liberation was only a few years old.

It made perfect sense that an entire farce could be built on the need to hide one's queer parents. Today, who would do that? And why would I feel sympathy for such a creep? If anything, the girlfriend should be hiding her fascist parents!

And for the record, I'm not opposed to gay anthems. Let's all join hands and sing "I Will Survive"! But there's something about the lyric to "I Am What I Am" that strikes me as uncomfortably wimpy; maybe because it is so literal. It has always reminded me of those people who tell you, "I don't take sh*t from anybody!" when you know perfectly well they crumble at the first hint of conflict.

Maybe the song would mean more to me if Albin at least sang it to his son, rather than to his mirror. (Of course, it doesn't help that he follows up in Act II by trying to hide his identity while pretending to be the son's bio mom. "I Am What I Am", indeed!)
rorschach37
Broadway Star
joined:4/3/10
@Gaveston, I was under the impression he sang it to the "La Cage audience", not to his mirror. Remember he joins Les Cagelles onstage and tells them to get off mid-performance.
greensgreens
Stand-by
joined:10/14/09
OMG! Was the last revival set in the 70's? I saw it three times and although some of the costumes were evocative of the era in retrospect (esp. men's tailoring), on the whole the show did not leave me thinking it was set in any particular time whatsoever. I always thought it was "present day" - or at least "time in a vacuum" - but there was never a clear indication that I was seeing the 70s onstage. Was that in the Playbill and I just totally missed it?
Gaveston2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/11
I saw a community theater production about 7 years ago; otherwise I haven't seen the show since the original in 1983. My memory is of George Hearn beginning the song to his mirror DSR, finishing it to the audience and then marching up the center aisle and out to thunderous applause as the curtain fell on Act i.

While I cringed. My memory of the staging could be totally faulty, but I don't recall it being an "onstage" number.

I totally trust you that it was done the way you describe in revival. I'll even believe you if you tell me I am misremembering the original.

(FWIW I like a lot of Jerry Herman, including other songs in LA CAGE.)

1
Page: