La Cage Aux Folles: Abridged

                               LA BIRDCAGE AUX FOLLES:
                            A "Broadway Abridged" Script
                                                            By Gil Varod





            SCENE: NEDERLANDER OFFICE, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF JAMES M.
            NEDERLANDER AND JAMES L. NEDERLANDER

                                   Enter HARVEY FIERSTEIN, recent star of
                                   HAIRSPRAY and playwright of such works
                                   as TORCH SONG TRILOGY.

                                   JAMES M. NEDERLANDER
            Harvey!  It's good to see you.  Right, James?

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            Yes, it's good to see you, Harvey.

                                   HARVEY FIERSTEIN
                          (in a raspy voice through a way
                           that can't be really made fun
                           of in a print medium)
            It's good to see you too, Mister Nederlanders.  No... I think
            that's Misters Nederlander .

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            So you must know why we called you here.

                                   JAMES M. NEDERLANDER
            Yes, you must know why we called you here.

                                   RASPY FIERSTEIN
            Oh no!  I'm not going back into Hairspray again. 
            Clearchannel can't make me--

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            No, no, we're not saying that, are we James?

                                   JAMES M. NEDERLANDER
            No James, we're not saying that--

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            --we're not saying that at all.  We realized, since you're
            such a huge name on Broadway nowadays, we wanted to take your
            show, "La Cage Aux Follies", and--

                                   HARVEY RASPYSTEIN
            That's "Folles".  It's French.  It's totally different;
            "Follies" was a show in the 70s written by James Goldman and
            Stephen So--

                                   JAMES M. NEDERLANDER
            Sure, whatever.  Anyway, we understand you wrote it, don't we
            James?

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            Yes, we understand that you wrote it.

                                   JAMES O. NEDERLANDER
            Right, we understand it was written by you.

                                   HARVEY "HAS A VERY 
                                   RASPY VOICE" FIERSTEIN
                          (indicating JAMES O.)
            Um... Who's that?

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            That's James O.  He's the troubled James Nederlander of the
            family. 
                          (to JAMES O. NEDERLANDER)
            Shoo, you!  Shoo!
                          (He shoos.)
            Anyway, so we want to do a revival of your classic hit.  What
            do you say?

                                   RASPY RASPERTEIN
            A revival of La Cage?  That would be phenomenal!  Why, in
            this age of "Will and Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight
            Guy", I could make all the changes to the script that I've
            always wanted!  I could undo the toning down of the
            homosexuality, and I could make the gay relationships more
            explicit and realistic, rather than a bastardization made
            family friendly for the sheer--

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            Nope.  We want to appeal to the blue-haired woman from the
            red states.  

                                   HARVEY FIERSTEIN
            Damn.

                                   JAMES M. NEDERLANDER
            And we want you to star in it.

                                   RASPY RASPY RASP RASP RASP
            Star in something I wrote?  Oh no.  I'm not pulling a Nathan
            Lane.  And I'm *not* letting you revive this show just so you
            can appeal to the audiences that liked the gay characters
            from "The Producers".

                                   JAMES L. NEDERLANDER
            Gay characters from the Producers, did you say?  James, get
            the phone.

                                   HARVEY FIERSTEIN
            Oh, me and my big rasp.





            SCENE: THE MARQUIS THEATRE, INSIDE THE MARRIOT MARQUIS HOTEL

                                   MARRIOT MARQUIS GUESTS
            Why the hell are "La Cage" ticketholders walking aimlessly
            around my hotel room floor?

                                   EVERY AUDIENCE MEMBER
            Seriously, if they're going to put a major Broadway theatre
            on the second floor of a hotel, how frickin' hard could it be
            to put clearly-labeled signs up so we can find the theatre
            easily?

                                   JAMES O. NEDERLANDER
            This is what happens when you put the *troubled* Nederlander
            in charge of drawing arrows!  Wheee!!!!

                                   J.O. runs off to see what he can do to
                                   make the bathrooms difficult to locate.





            SCENE: INSIDE THE THEATRE

                                   Onstage are what seems to be a bunch of
                                   women with well-toned bodies, doing a
                                   striptease.

                                   CHORUS
                          (singing the Opening Number)
            WE,
            ARE WHAT WE ARE,
            AND WHAT WE ARE,
            IS AN ILLUSION..

                                   The lights come up, and audience
                                   realizes that they are actually men
                                   dressed in drag.

                                   STRAIGHT MALES IN AUDIENCE
                          (a bit put off)
            Whoa, I just found my own thoughts and beliefs questioned in
            the moment where I realized I found a bunch of males
            attractive!  I wonder if this show will continue to make me
            question my beliefs, values and morals!

                                   It WON'T.





            SCENE: SOME GAY APARTMENT.

                                   Daniel Davis, the butler from "The
                                   Nanny", is onstage.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
                          (delivered very flatly, as
                           he'll do the entire show)
            Come out, Gary Beach!  We're starting a play set in France
            that seems barely French except for pronunciation of a few
            key words!  That said, the audience of our club, "La Cage",
            is waiting for you!

                                   GARY BEACH
            No, I won't!  Let my public go without me!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Why won't you come out onstage?  Is it because you're playing
            a Diva, who likes to keep his/her audience always waiting?

                                   GARY BEACH
            No, it's because I'm afraid that when I step onstage, they're
            going to realize that I'm playing the part of Albin exactly
            the way I played Roger Debris in "The Producers"!

                                   Enter BLACK CROSSDRESSING MAID.

                                   BLACK CROSSDRESSING MAID
            You better get out there and face the facts, Gary!
                          (aside to audience)
            I'm the black cross-dressing maid.  I'm a hilarious, well
            acted character, and horribly under-used.
                          (to Gary)
            You hear me?  You face the facts.
                          (to audience)
            See you in a half an hour, during which you'll be met with
            various characters who are acted more woodenly!

                                   He exits; depression falls.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Come on, Gary.  Go out on the stage of La Cage and sing!

                                   GARY BEACH
            Oh, all right.  I'll do it.
                          (sings)
            I'LL DO IT!
            SABU, CHAMPAGNE!
            IF AT THE END, YOU, WANT THEM TO CHEER
            KEEP IT GAY, KEEP IT GAY, KEEP IT G--

                                   DIRECTOR JERRY ZAKS
            Gary!  I told you, differentiate the part from "Roger Debris"
            in at least *some* way.

                                   GARY BEACH
            Nope.

                                   DIRECTOR JERRY ZAKS
            Oh.  Well, that's the most I'm trying.  I'm going to handle
            your mis-acting in "La Cage" the same way I handled Kerry
            Butler's as Audrey in "Little Shop": I'm not.
                          (pause)
            I think I forgot how to direct acting.

                                   GARY BEACH
            So, I have to go out onstage.  But first, I'll sing a song
            about me putting on Mascara to look my best before I get onto
            the stage itself!  This song will establish that men in this
            play put on makeup!  Of course, it doesn't need to be
            established because we already had the opening number that
            establishes that men in this play put on dresses!

                                   He sings for the entire amount of time
                                   it takes for him to put on full makeup
                                   (which is frickin' forever when you
                                   have to sit through a song of it) and
                                   then goes onto the stage of the club.

                                   Enter Gavin Creel.

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            Oh, Papa, Papa, there's this girl...

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Did you say Papa?

                                   HARVEY FIERSTEIN
                          (explaining)
            Yes, it's a Fiddler on the Roof "homage".

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            Speaking of Fiddler, there's this girl I've been dating Papa,
            and I want to marry her!  And, you've never met her before
            *ever*!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Ah.  Ever, eh?  How convenient.

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            But here's the thing: her Father's a politician with
            traditional values.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            You want to marry a girl whose father is traditional
            conservative?  No, THIS IS NOT MY SON!

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            But Papa,
                          (sings)
            HOW CAN I HELP TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND
            HOW I DO, WHAT I DO,
            WHY I MUST TRAVEL TO A DISTANT LAND...

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Um... Again, you're singing a song from Fiddler on the Roof.

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            Yeah, but the real song I sing here is pretty much the same
            content-wise.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Ah.  Well put.

                                   Gavin Creel continues singing as he
                                   dances, albeit stiff, wooden, and
                                   devoid of rythm.

                                   "THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE"
            Whoa whoa whoa... Gavin, you used be able to dance when you
            were starring in me.  What happened?

                                   Gavin finishes the song.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Allright, you sang a song, and according to cliche musical
            theatre rules, that means I have to agree with you.

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            Well, here's the other part: she and both of her parents are
            coming over for dinner.  TONIGHT!
                          (dead silence)
            I said.... TONIGHT!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Yeah... I kinda saw that coming.

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            So we need to make this place look less gay.  And we need to
            have Gary Beach not be here for dinner, and we need to get my
            mother to show up!  And then HILARITY MUST ENSUE!
                          (winks)

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            I suppose I'm going to have to BREAK IT TO GARY BEACH THAT HE
            CAN'T BE THERE.





            SCENE: AN OUTDOOR BOARDWALK THAT LOOKS A BIT LIKE "DISNEY'S
            CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE"

                                   WOMAN WITH RED HAIR
                          (enters)
            Hey Gary, something something something favors.  And now I'll
            leave, to be used heavily at the end of act two, and nobody
            will even remember that I showed up in act one.
                          (leaves)

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Who was that?

                                   GARY BEACH
            Some character that will never be established fully until
            it's too late.  So, why have you brought me to what seems
            like Disney's greatest failure at theme parks?

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Gary, our son is going to marry a girl whose father is a
            traditional conservative politician, and he loves her very
            much.

                                   GARY BEACH
            He wants to marry a girl whose father is traditional
            conservative?  No, THIS IS NOT MY SON!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Well you... wait a minute!  Gavin and I just went through
            this scene.
                          (sighs)
            Ah, well... when in Anatevka.
                          (sings)
            DO YOU LOVE ME?

                                   GARY BEACH
            DO I WHAT?

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            DO YOU... 
            Oh god, this is painful.
                          (finishes song)

                                   GARY BEACH
            And of course, being that we're family-friendly gays, we
            can't show affection.  Instead we just have to point out over
            and over again that we love each other until it's pouring out
            of the audience's ears.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Yes.  Anyway, the thing is, not only are her parents coming
            for dinner, but you're not allowed to be at the dinn--

                                   GARY BEACH
            No, don't tell me everything now!  There's at least 20
            minutes left in this act; you have to leave some dramatic
            tension!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Oh, all right.

                                   Gary Beach leaves.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            I'm going to have to BREAK IT TO GARY BEACH THAT HE CAN'T BE
            THERE.





            SCENE: BACKSTAGE OF THE "LA CAGE" CLUB.

                                   GARY BEACH
            Okay, I'm about to go on!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Okay.

                                   Gary Beach goes on.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            I'm going to have to BREAK IT TO GARY BEACH THAT HE CAN'T BE
            THERE.





            SCENE: THE STAGE OF THE "LA CAGE" CLUB.

                                   A giant dance number ensues, titled "La
                                   Cage aux Folles".  Being the title
                                   song, it introduces the audience to the
                                   club, which they've already seen at
                                   least two musical numbers from.

                                   Being the title song, it also should
                                   have gone not randomly in the middleof
                                   the play, but more towards the
                                   beginning of the play.  

                                   Kinda like the way titles do.





            SCENE: BACKSTAGE OF THE "LA CAGE" CLUB

                                   GARY BEACH
            I'm about to go on for the next piece!

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Okay.

                                   Gary Beach goes on.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            I'm going to have to BREAK IT TO GARY BEACH THAT HE CAN'T BE
            THERE.  STILL.





            SCENE: THE STAGE OF THE "LA CAGE" CLUB.

                                   More dancing goes on.  The choreography
                                   continues its way towards "filler",
                                   consisting of a number that seems
                                   ripped off from "Cirque Du Soleil" as
                                   if to finally point out, "look, this
                                   takes place in France!"  It eventually
                                   degenerates into a bad can-can.  At the
                                   end, Gary Beach takes off his wig to
                                   show he's a man.





            SCENE: BACKSTAGE OF THE "LA CAGE" CLUB

                                   GARY BEACH
            I'm about to go on for the next piece.

                                   He gets behind a dressing screen and
                                   changes costume.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            I'm still going to have to BREAK IT TO GARY BEACH THAT HE
            CAN'T... Oh, I guess I might as well do it now.
                          (to Gary Beach)
            You can't come to the dinner with Gavin Creel's fiancee's
            parents, because you're too gay.

                                   Though this would break his heart, Gary
                                   Beach doesn't bother responding to this
                                   with a look, a sound, or anything.
                                   thereby totally missing out on some
                                   posssible comedy and/or drama.  Instead
                                   he holds off on a reaction for a good
                                   five or six minutes until he can do it
                                   via song.

                                   GARY BEACH
                          (singing)
            I AM GAY AND I AM PROUD OF IT!

                                   At this generally-well-performed-but
                                   not-really-all-that-"climactic" moment,
                                   the curtain goes down.





            SCENE: INTERMISSION

                                   MAJORITY OF AUDIENCE
            Yeah... so all I knew about this before it began was that
            "The Birdcage" was sorta based on it... and so far, plotwise,
            we've hit like 20 minutes of the movie max.

                                   STRAIGHT GUYS IN AUDIENCE
            ...at least SOME of the chorus "boys" must actually be
            girls... RIGHT?

                                   Curtain rises.





            SCENE: THE OUTDOOR BOARDWALK

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            The thing is, he wants to have two regular normal parents
            there for her parents to meet.  Just for one night.

                                   GARY BEACH
            Yeah, I've been meaning to ask about that.  So at one point,
            you had a wife?

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Oh, no,  I just had sex with a woman once.  It was well after
            I realized I was gay... I just wanted to know what it's like.

                                   GARY BEACH
            Wait a minute... that sounds fishy.  Almost like some sort of
            absurd "all gay people are really straight underneath"
            subtext or something.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Shh.  Just let it go.  So, you can come to the dinner, but
            you have to pretend to be Gavin's uncle instead.  For this to
            happen, I need to teach you how to act like a man.  Now,
            walk, and do it the way a man would!

                                   Just as the libretto dictates, Gary
                                   Beach walks very daintily.

                                   Of course this is very weird and
                                   inorganic, as Gary Beach has been
                                   really playing the part less "dainty"
                                   and more "butch".  More "Roger DeBris"
                                   and less "Carmen Ghia".

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            We're going to have to get you to be more masculine!

                                   He sings a two minute song about this,
                                   during which random passersby awkwardly
                                   join in.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            There.  Now you're masculine, and it only took like a minute.

                                   "THE MONTAGE"
            You know, in a "we have to teach somebody something"
            situations, most musicals use me...

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            We had a song that actually moved the plot.  Let us be
            content with that.





            SCENE: GAY APARTMENT.

                                   Gary Beach is sitting on the side
                                   corner of the stage, staring at the
                                   audience the entire scene.

                                   GAVIN CREEL
            All is going according to plan, Papa.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            You know Gavin, Gary's brought up and raised you, and he
            really loves you.  What you're doing is unfair to him.

                                   He sings a song about this unfairness
                                   to Gary, as if Gary isn't there.

                                   GARY BEACH
            So... So he's singing about me, and I don't know why I'm
            sitting here as if I can't hear it or something.  This is
            actually kinda awkward.

                                   The Guy from the Nanny keeps singing,
                                   and Gavin walks offstage as the final
                                   verse starts.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Um... why am I still singing to Gavin even though he's
            offstage?  Why am I singing as if Gary's not here even though
            he's the one who *is* onstage?

                                   DIRECTOR JERRY ZAKS
            I think I forgot how to stage things.

                                   Enter Gavin's Fiancee and her family.

                                   ULTRA-CONSERVATE FATHER
            I'm the ultra-conservative father.  The musical is over
            2/3rds over, and I just decided to show up in the play.  This
            is in leiu of giving me an introduction or perhaps a scene in
            act one so the audience can meet me before the characters do. 
            So we're going to have to do some characterization real fast.
                          (says many bigotist, one
                           dimensional things)
            See?  I'm a jerk!  Root for me to go down!

                                   Enter Gary Beach, dressed like a woman.

                                   GARY BEACH
                          (rushed)
            Hey Gavin your mother couldn't make it so I'm going to
            pretend to be your mother oh I think we're having chicken
            where's the butler who is supposed to make it let's all sing
            a song while we sip cocktails.

                                   DIRECTOR JERRY ZAKS
            I think I forgot how to comedically time.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Everybody, let's sit down for dinner and wait for the chicken
            to get served.

                                   BLACK CROSSDRESSING MAID
            Whoa, I'm back in the play again, just to say I burned the
            chicken that we were supposed to have for dinner!

                                   GARY BEACH
            That's okay.  This set doesn't seem to have a dinner table
            anyway, so it's pretty obvious the dinner scene wasn't going
            to take place here.  Let's go to REALLY POPULAR CROWDED
            RESTAURANT.





            SCENE: REALLY POPULAR CROWDED RESTAURANT

                                   The restaurant set consists of two or
                                   three small tables in the back, and one
                                   orphan table in the middle of the
                                   stage.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            Odd how this crowded restaurant has the effect of there being
            barely any seating.

                                   They all sit at the table.

                                   WOMAN WITH RED HAIR
            Hey Gary Beach, remember me from the first act, where it
            wasn't made clear that I should be remembered for later plot
            use?

                                   GARY BEACH
            Nope.

                                   WOMAN WITH RED HAIR
            Yeah, figured.  Anyway, I have some weird obsession with
            FAVORS of some sort.  So now that I did a FAVOR for you by
            getting you these seats, I want you to do a FAVOR for me and
            sing for the restaurant patrons.

                                   He does and the rest of the patrons
                                   join in, again awkwardly.

                                   Finally, ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE FATHER
                                   joins in, and everybody onstage begins
                                   doing some weird clapping choreography
                                   where they just clap left and right for
                                   three minutes.

                                   Gary Beach gets so into it that, at the
                                   end, he takes off his wig to show he's
                                   a man just as he would onstage.

                                   GARY BEACH
            Oh no!

                                   Suddenly, a whole bunch of "La Cage"
                                   crossdressing-dancers come onstage and
                                   dance.

                                   AUDIENCE MEMBERS
            How clever!  They were inside the "La Cage" club the entire
            time, and Gary Beach fooled them all!  Or else, why would the
            dancers show up in the restaurant?

                                   DIRECTOR JERRY ZAKS
            No, it really *is* the restaurant... you see, the dancers are
            supposed to be a representation of what's in Gary Beach's
            mind.

                                   AUDIENCE MEMBERS
            Oh... Well, that's not clear at all.

                                   DIRECTOR JERRY ZAKS
            Yeah...
                          (sighs)
            I think I forgot how to imagine.





            SCENE: GAY APARTMENT.

                                   ULTRA-CONSERVATE FATHER
            This is all horrible!  Terrible!

                                   WOMAN WITH RED HAIR
            Hey everybody, under-explained side-character here, just to
            let you know that I called the press, and they want to take
            pictures of Ultra-Conservative Father with Gary Beach. 
            They're waiting outside!

                                   ULTRA-CONSERVATE FATHER
            Oh no, what will we do?

                                   GARY BEACH
            I have an idea...





            SCENE: THE STAGE OF THE "LA CAGE" CLUB.

                                   A dance number goes on for a good
                                   twenty minutes.

                                   Finally, the conservative family comes
                                   on dressed in drag.

                                   ULTRA-CONSERVATE FATHER
            Wouldn't it have been funnier if we came on dressed in drag
            just as soon as Gary Beach had the idea?

                                   A bunch of people run from one side of
                                   the stage to the next.

                                   GARY BEACH
                          (to audience)
            It was too quick to tell, but those were *photographers*.

                                   GUY FROM THE NANNY
            So, the show's over.  The evil politician got his end and had
            to crossdress.  Now, audience, you get to choose your own
            ending!





            ENDING FOR PEOPLE IN BLUE STATES:

                                   Even though the Evil Politician got his
                                   end and had to crossdress, the real
                                   evil politicians will be in office
                                   until 2008.

                                   Hilarity ensues.





            ENDING FOR PEOPLE IN RED STATES:

                                   Ha ha, at the end, they had to
                                   crossdress.  And what have we learned
                                   today?  We've learned that gay people
                                   are exactly like straight people... You
                                   know, totally toned down, and they
                                   never kiss.





            ENDING FOR PEOPLE WHO READ PAGE THIRTY OF THE PLAYBILL:

                                   PEOPLE WHO READ PAGE THIRTY
                                   OF THE PLAYBILL
            Time is "summer"?  Does this take place now or then?  Isn't
            there a difference between what this means now and what this
            meant the first time it was on Broadway?  Doesn't this show
            have a bit of a different connotation in today's modern
            world?  Couldn't this revival have been less ambivalent about
            gay issues and more *relevant*?





            ENDING FOR LIBRETTO-WRITER HARVEY FIERSTEIN:

                                   HARVEY FIERSTEIN
            The hell with all of you.  They're letting me play Tevye in
            Fiddler!

                                   BLACKOUT.

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