Who: Longtime Bend dancer, instructor and choreographer Michelle Mejaski returns to Drake Park as director and choreographer of this year’s Theater in the Park presentation, “La Cage Aux Folles.” The 1983 comedy musical by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman is based on the 1973 play by French playwright Jean Poiret (which also inspired the 1996 Robin Williams film “The Birdcage”). It runs at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 and 24 in Drake Park (6 p.m. doors). Tickets are available at bendticket.com.
Q: Had you seen “La Cage Aux Folles” before, or were you just aware of it?
A: I’d seen the movie “The Birdcage,” of course. And then CTC did it over 10 years ago with the director Sandy Silver. (Mejaski served as choreographer.)
Q: I’ve not seen “The Birdcage” since it came out. It’s set at a nightclub?
A: The show is set in St. Tropez, France, in a nightclub, and the owners are Georges (played by Spencer Zarr) and Albin (Thor Erickson), and they are a married couple. Albin is the lead drag queen in the show, and her name is Za Za. They live in an apartment that is connected to the club.
Q: And hijinks ensue when the future in-laws show up?
A: The in-laws are from the Family and Morality Party, and that’s Deputy Dindon (Bradley Rode) and his very conservative wife, Madame Dindon (Laura Lee Coffman). Anne (Shaley Vaughan), the daughter of the Dindons, and Jean-Michel (Matt Vigil), the son of Georges and Albin, are engaged. And so yes, hijinks ensue. … Jean-Michel is from a self-described one-night passionate evening of (Georges’) seeing what it’s all about with one of his showgirls. So, he is Georges’ biological son. … Jean-Michel insists that Albin be sent away, and they present Georges as a straight man.
Q: How would you describe the songs?
A: The drag queens, their songs start out more like a mysterious tone, and then it goes to a more Broadway feel by the end.
Q: Who else is making the show happen?
A: Our makeup team is Stephanie Von Aydan, Katherine Havern and Shantae Knorr making everyone look beautiful. Costume design is by myself and Tempel Corpstein. And set design is by Gary Loddo, of course.
Q: What else do you have coming up?
A: The second I get back from vacation are auditions for “Nine the Musical.” It is, for the very first time, Mejaski Choreography and Productions Presents. It is my first show producing, directing, choreographing and designing all on my own. It will be the first three weekends in January. Cascades Theatre will be my rented venue. … And we can announce that Theater in the Park 2020 will be “Into the Woods.”
— David Jasper, The Bulletin