2015 Best Specialty Ensemble in a Musical: La Cagelles in The Umbrella's "La Cage Aux Folles"

Before we announce our 2015 ArtsImpulse Award Winners, we are proud to present our 2015 ArtsImpulse Nominee Interview Series. 

NOTE: If you were nominated for a 2015 ArtsImpulse Theatre Award, and you would like to participate in our 2015 ArtsImpulse Nominee Interview Series, please email us at brian@artsimpulse.com

In our largest Interview to date, the Cagelles in The Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles all dished and gabbed about the process of performing as the dancers and performers in this special musical.  The Cagelles were stand-out energy and force within this stunning musical about acceptance, family, and joy. The performers brought his or her own flair to each of these roles, showing us their dance moves while showing us their stories behind the scenes. In their Interview, each of these performers (Brian Liebson, Cristanto Guadiz, Lara Finn, Thom Hardy, Kai Chao, Andrew Swansburg, and Allie Córdova) talk to us about their drag song, the most challenging parts of this musical, and their Miscast roles!

Hi, all, and thank you for joining us for our biggest Interview to date!  Can you start by introducing yourselves and telling us a bit more about you?

Photo Credit: Al Ragone.

Photo Credit: Al Ragone.

Brian Liebson (“Brian”):  My name is Brian Liebson, and I am a senior at Olin College in Needham, Massachusetts, studying robotic engineering. I’m originally from Los Angeles, where I was born and raised, playing volleyball and dancing.

Luciana Fonda (“Luciana”): My name is Luciana Fionda and I work as a choreographer and dance teacher in the Boston area. I love traveling to new destinations, but I’ll always fly to Italy to see my family. When not in the theater or the dance studio, you’ll find me at yoga or playing basketball.

Crisanto Guadiz (“Crisanto”): My name is Crisanto Guadiz.  I was born in the Philippines, lived on the island of Guam for a few years, and have lived in Massachusetts ever since.  My career is in biotech, and I’ve been performing in community theater as a hobby for the past 20+ years.  I’m also a Zumba instructor and I like to dabble in photography.

Lara Finn (“Lara”): My name is Lara and I am from the North Shore of Massachusetts. I have my B.A. in Dance/Movement Studies from Emory University and my M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University, specializing in Dance/Movement Therapy. For the past 20 years, I have choreographed musicals for Boston area high schools, colleges, and community theatres, and La Cage Aux Folles was my first time performing in a musical in over 10 years. In addition to choreographing and performing, I work as a supervisor at a therapeutic school for students with special needs.

Photo Credit: Thom Hardy.

Photo Credit: Thom Hardy.

Thom Hardy (“Thom”): I'm Thom, and I currently live in Leominster, Massachusetts. I work at a small community bank in the mortgage department. Clearly: boring day job. So to get my creative juices flowing, I love to do theatre in my spare time. Lately, I've been trying to do as much theatre as possible because I turned 30 and realized there are a lot of shows that I'm probably getting too old to do. La Cage is one of those shows, especially as a Cagelle; that doesn't come around often so you have to seize the opportunity when it happens.

Kai Chao (“Kai”): I’m from Fullerton, California . . . well, now living in East Boston. I am currently the Senior Sales Manager at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, and I try to balance work, theater, and life regularly.  Theater has always been an integral part of my life, since Junior High (middle school for those of you born and raised on the East Coast), and it will continue to be for as long as I can manage.  Some of my favorite moments in life have been performing with Disney Entertainment, sharing the stage with Broadway talent, forming friendships that have moved from “on” to “off” stage, and meeting Al on one fateful night.

Andrew Swansburg (“Andrew”): Hey, I’m Andrew - I grew up in Nahant, Massachusetts, and I have been active in theaters around the Boston area for many years.  I work in sales for an A/V integration company - HB Communications.  I tell people: Some guys golf, others play sports - theater has always been my passion, so it’s what I do when I can slip away for awhile.

Allie Córdova (“Allie”): Thanks for the opportunity to reconnect with my fellow Cagelles virtually!  I am from the Boston area and recently moved to central New Jersey. I grew up dancing and I was obsessed with ballet. More recently, I started performing with a Boston area modern dance company called Forty Steps Dance Company. A few years ago, I decided to try my hand (and feet) at musical theater and I fell in love with both the art form and with the people I met in Boston’s theater community. By day, I am a newly-minted lawyer.

Talk to us about your characters in La Cage Aux Folles.  Who were you, how did you get this character (how much was cast by the director versus determined individually or as a group), and what did you bring to this character?

Brian: I was cast as Chantal; the director picked each of us specifically for a character, so I got to create my “version” of Chantal, but she was chosen for me. I was Mary Sunshine in a production of Chicago at Babson College, so I used my Chantal opportunity to play the snarkier, sassier version of Mary.

Luciana: I originally auditioned for Anne, but, being tall as I am, I was asked to come in for the dance callback for the Cagelles. My character, Odette, really transformed from the first rehearsal to opening night. We created this 60s Twiggy-esque character with a sassy, aloof nature.

Crisanto: I played the role of Mercedes. Being the oldest of those playing Cagelles, I tried to bring to my character a flavor “jaded maturity.”

Lara: I played Angelique, a flirty Cagelle and one of the 3 actual females. Peyton, our director, did great character work and prep with us from the beginning of the rehearsal process, so even though Angelique had just one or two spoken lines, I was able to bring her character to life through the ensemble dance numbers with a clear vision.

Thom: I played Hanna from Hamburg . . . Aka: the bitch with the whip. I'm not sure how Peyton, our fearless and phenomenal director, knew how to cast each of us because, looking back, I cannot imagine it any other way. We all had our special moments and made our roles more than just “back up drag queens.” The Cagelles don't have a lot of dialogue, so we got to make the characters our own with Peyton and our amazing choreographer Hannah’s guidance. We each brought our own talents and strengths to the roles and balanced each other out and found moments where we could just have fun.

It really became a crazy family with the 8 of us. From day one, we started bonding, and I think we all just sort of created this bizarre group of misfits that fit together… Somehow. I think we found most of our “characterization” while backstage rehearsing and getting ready for the shows. Some of us would get there HOURS before the performances to do our makeup together. We'd all sit in a row and just be stupid and silly and bitchy and sarcastic and honest with one another. Some of my favorite moments were at our makeup table. I won't lie… I'd spend 3 to 4 hours on my face only to sweat it all off. Thank God for Aqua Net; I sprayed layers upon layers of hairspray on my face each night… Perhaps it was the fumes that made this show so good…

Photo Credit: Al Ragone.

Photo Credit: Al Ragone.

Kai: Peyton really wanted each of the Cagelles to have a history that brought us to La Cage aux Folles . . . and Phaedra had definitely worked there for a while.  We worked together, and learned that Phaedra always wanted to be a dancer, almost made it . . . came close to doing some touring productions, but in the end . . . didn’t quite make it.  At that point, she had moved past her bitter point, and just settled on being a bit jaded. 

Everyone came up with some “tricks” and, well Phaedra was always liked to lash out with her tongue.  Of course, there’s always a bit of jealousy, and dishy drama… and I think there was definitely a bit of a jealous rivalry with Chantal . . . the ingénue of the group.  As we put the make-up on each night, it was really interesting how the process developed our characters.  We literally put layers of our character on with our make-up . . . with our foundation we would mask off the drama of our work day, and then we would shape and contour our faces to become Phaedra, or Derma, or Hanna, with higher cheekbones, arched eyebrows. By the time we put our lashes and lips on, they became accents of how sharp or melodramatic our emotions were that day.

Andrew: I played Dermah, who, for me, became this drag queen who had been around the block for awhile and was a bit more of an older, more subdued diva.  Peyton really allowed us the freedom to figure out the character transformation and gave us the time to look for the nuances within the script.

Photo Credit: Avenna Studios

Photo Credit: Avenna Studios

Allie: I played Nikki, the “black swan” of the Cagelles. Like me, she did not find much success in the ballet world. However, she turned to Zaza and La Cage Aux Folles to try and satisfy her need for sophistication, glamour, and attention. Peyton really pushed and supported each of us to develop a unique, authentic character. It was an incredible experience to work with Peyton, the Cagelles, Maureen (costumes), Michael (make-up), and Jake (wigs) to discover who that character was. One of my favorite Nikki elements was her bourrée-ing onto stage in pointe shoes. Not only was it fun for me to pull out my dusty pointe shoes, but it was also such a wonderful comedic moment and completely consistent with the persona that we had developed for Nikki.

If you could have any drag song, what would it be, and why?

Brian: Does “Let’s Have a Kiki” count?

Luciana: Definitely “Your Makeup Looks Terrible.” It was on constant replay in our dressing room.

Crisanto: My drag song would be “A Little Party never Killed Nobody” from The Great Gatsby soundtrack.

Lara: “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred.

Thom: I would want Katy Perry’s “Peacock” as my theme song.

Kai: Damnit, Chantal took it again . . . I suppose“You Better Work” by Ru Paul would be too cliché… and “I Love the Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges would just date me…  maybe “Wrecking Ball” by Miley, or “Firework” by Katy, or “Chasing Pavements” by Adele. I suppose it depends on the mood; some days, it would be “Winter” by Vivaldi.

Allie: Am I allowed to say “Cover Girl”? This is the music we used for curtain call, and the energy was unbeatable.

What were some of the challenges in La Cage Aux Folles?  What were some of the most exciting moments?

Brian: Makeup. We had a big day where we all learned how to do our makeup by the amazingly talented and awesome Michael Geary. That was probably the most challenging process but also the most exciting because it’s when the whole look finally came together, and I really felt like a different person.

Photo Credit: Ryan Tucker.

Photo Credit: Ryan Tucker.

Luciana: The wigs. Jake Egan designed these stunning pieces that really embodied each of our characters. It was through him I really found Odette. I wore this four piece wig, constructed into this huge beehive with curls. The weight of it was a big adjustment, especially when you’re performing such high-energy choreography. I cannot begin to count how many bobby pins lost their lives keeping that wig on my head every night.

Crisanto: The biggest challenge for me was definitely the dancing in heels!

Lara: For me, the most challenging dance number was “La Cage Aux Folles;” it was a non-stop workout that inspired me to work hard to get into the best shape I could to be able to execute everything the way I wanted to be able to. Because I hadn’t performed in a while, the general preparation it took to get back onto stage was a fun and rewarding challenge.

The most exciting moment was the first time we got to perform for a full audience, the energy in the theater was amazing.

Thom: I agree with Lara that the title number was a challenge. Not only did we have to do 6,453 kicks, in dresses, and wigs, for 10 minutes, but we had to sing and entertain and be ridiculous. I remember one rehearsal where we finished the number and we literally were laying on the floor minutes away from death. Our brilliant choreographer (Hannah Shihdanian) said to us, in her loving energetic Zumba instructor way: “You guys need to start running!” But by the time we opened, we could do it without fainting. There were moments where we still had to cheat a bit and tell each other, “You hold me up, smile, and make noise when you're facing front and I'll do the same for you!” (Thanks, Allie!)

The most exciting moment was opening night when we stepped on stage for the first time. The audience didn't know what to expect, neither did we… And we did it!! I wish I could relive that moment every day.

Kai: All those kicks!  But, every time John/Georges introduced Les Cagelle, and the lights switched to silhouette us, was the most exhilarating moment; you could feel the audience trying to see who/what was behind the curtains.  Then there was a collective gasp every night when the curtains opened and the lights went up to full and the audience burst into applause; we knew then that the illusion was there.

Andrew:  I think the challenge for me was allowing myself to become something I wasn’t or at least to explore the world of drag.  It’s an interesting emotional transformation to look in the mirror for the first time and see what you’ve become/created, which is a very different feeling when the character takes on a physical transformation. 

Allie: One of the most challenging aspects for me was pushing myself to “go big or go home!” The Cagelles are super high-energy and high-drama, a state of being that does not match my off-stage personality. Pushing those boundaries was tough, but also incredibly fun.

There were so many highs in this show - in particular, I loved the pre-performance ritual of the Cagelles arriving early at the theater to put on our faces and our characters together, and I loved the curtain call, getting the entire audience on their feet dancing and celebrating this beautiful story.

If you could turn back time, when and where would you go?  Why?  What would you do?  What would you bring back with you?

Brian: I’d go to the San Francisco Pride in June 2015, days after the SCOTUS voted in favor of common sense.

Luciana: The Roaring ‘20s. I was brought up on jazz music, so I’d love to go back to its origin days.

Photo Credit: Crisanto Guadiz.

Photo Credit: Crisanto Guadiz.

Crisanto: I would go back to my freshman year in college, and I would take more advantage of the great theater department we had at my university.

Lara: The 1950s; I love the music from this time period and it just looks like it was a fun, simple time that I would have enjoyed

Thom: Luciana and I would have a fabulous time together in the Gay ‘20s. I'm sure you'd find us in some seedy little speakeasy, making complete fools of ourselves and trying to “out bitch” each other.

I'd like to bring back a young Carol Channing, so she can be around for another 95 years or more.

Kai: Such a Catch-22; I would have probably called in sick one more day to attend the final call-back to a national tour for which I was auditioning, but, then, if I landed that job, where would I be now?  I’d like to think that I would still have made it to Boston, and met Al, so that we could be where we are now, with different experiences, but life is an enigma that way, and, I find that we create our moments, and in those moments we find happiness.

Andrew: Well, if we’re talking a time period, it would be the ‘50s - I’m just enamored with that time period. 

If we’re talking in my life, probably back to my early 20s so I could take advantage of opportunities that I didn’t jump on. 

Of course, I have to agree with Thom, having a young Carol Channing around would be kind of fun!

Allie: I’ll head back to the ‘20s so I can Charleston with Luciana and Thom (and wear a gorgeous dress while at it).

Why do you think La Cage Aux Folles resonated with reviewers and audience members?

Brian: It’s one of the first shows to portray a gay couple as its leading characters, and not making a joke out of it. It shows normal people in a normal relationship to which anyone can relate. I think people may come to be entertained by the crazy, zany drag queens, but fall in love with the honest and real story.

Luciana: One of the largest themes of this show is acceptance. You see every one of these characters deal with both personal and social acceptance in some way. I think that desire to be included and validated runs deep within human nature. That’s why this show is such a quintessential piece of musical theater.

Crisanto: I think the show resonated with a lot of people because pretty much everyone has that certain something that they’re insecure about or fear judgement for, and La Cage puts forth a message to just let down your guard and live life as you are.

Lara: Audiences loved the glitter and high-energy songs and dances, but the simplicity of the heart of the story is what I think really resonated with everyone that saw the show, and what I took away from it as well. It’s about loving yourself and others for who they are and doing so fiercely, even when it takes extra courage.

Thom: La Cage is a story about family. I like to think that you are born with relatives, but you can choose your family. We, the cast and especially the Cagelles, became a family and I think that showed on stage. Some things you just cannot fake, and our trust in each other and love for our family, however dysfunctional that we may have been, was what made this show so special to me. I hope that showed to the audiences. I loved every minute of this production and would do it again and again.

Kai: As Cagelles, we always want it to be about us. We’re the reason why the audience comes, but, really, the reason why we were there in the first place is love and family.  It’s alot of glitz and glamour, but without love it is all just sparkle dust and maribou.  Everyone can have a little fun with the numbers, but then it’s really about love winning in the end.  It’s also about changing our cultural norms.  Bad decisions are made right, love conquers all, and it’s all that we want for the world. 

Photo Credit: Bill Letourneau.

Photo Credit: Bill Letourneau.

Andrew: La Cage is really just a show about love and acceptance and family - what more can you ask for.  It really is a beautiful family show.

Allie: To echo Brian, the pageantry draws you in, but the story beneath is incredibly honest and real, and the show draws on themes about love, family, dignity and acceptance that can resonate with anyone. I think it is also important to recognize this story as a specific celebration of a gay couple maintaining a supportive relationship and loving family (biological and chosen) while consistently confronted by hostility toward those very relationships and even their own identities.

What are some plays or musicals that you would love to see performed in our Greater Boston community?  Why?  Would you act, direct, choreograph, or just see and enjoy them?

Brian: I’d kill to be in a production like In the Heights. I think diverse representation is very not present in Boston area theater, resulting in a preventative atmosphere to put on more racially invested shows. I’d love to see more people on stage of all shapes and sizes and more productions being put on taking risks in casting choices and inventive staging.

Luciana: Brian and I have In the Heights in common. I would also love to be a part of a show like The Producers. There’s so much you can do with Mel Brooks style of comedy that it would be a real challenge for me as an actress. Plus, the choreography is spectacular.

Some of the ensemble of the Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles (Photo Credit: Al Ragone). 

Some of the ensemble of the Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles (Photo Credit: Al Ragone). 

Crisanto: I’d love to be in another production of Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Thom: Kiss of the Spider Woman is another seldom produced show that I'd love to be involved in. But I wouldn't be opposed to a La Cage revival! I'd do this show again any day… As long as we can rehearse the numbers a couple hundred times so I can fit back into those dresses...

Kai: Mary Poppins with an Asian Bert . . . oh, wait . . .

I’m pretty open to many things, and have grown more interested in opportunities to present diversity in theater, and engaging audiences to see things with a different perspective.  Multi-diversity casting is on everyone’s agenda, but, I still feel there is an appropriate place/time/work for it to be impactful.  There are some roles I would love to challenge myself with, and productions I would love to direct, and/or choreograph.  And when the time is right, they will happen.

Andrew: I was thrilled Pippin got remade a few years back - it’s one of my favorite shows and so very rarely done.  I wish more companies would take on challenging shows like that.  I like “feel good” shows that let you escape for a while and walk out humming a tune and wanting to watch more. 

I would always prefer to be on stage - the challenge of telling the story, performing some challenging choreography or just venturing into something that pushes you mentally, physically and emotionally.

Allie: Sadly, I’m no longer in Boston and cannot participate in new productions other than by seeing and enjoying them (which I look forward to doing). I’d love to see my region of New Jersey emulate the dynamic theater community of Boston!

What is one thing that you enjoy doing on the weekends?  What is one thing that you do not enjoy doing on weekends?

Brian: I’m in the Donkey Show in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I really enjoy that.

I really don’t enjoy waking up early… before noon.

Luciana: I’ll either be seeing a show or spending quality time with friends and family.

Laundry is the worst weekend chore, especially when most of your wardrobe revolves around dance attire.

Crisanto: I love going to my place in Wells, Maine, every weekend for 6 months of the year.

I hate going to bed on Sunday nights because it means the weekend is over, so I usually delay that as much as possible.

Photo Credit: Lara Finn

Photo Credit: Lara Finn

Lara: I typically have very busy weeks, so on the weekends, I try to take every opportunity to enjoy downtime and relax in my neighborhood and catch up with friends.

I do not enjoy shopping, so that is something I typically avoid doing on the weekends if I can help it.

Thom: I like Italian food, scary movies, and long walks on the beach… I'm single, so get me a date: that's what I'd like to do on my weekends!

Kai: Al recently re-introduced photography to me.  I had always enjoyed it, from taking amateur shots, and taking some shots while I was writing and editing our high school newspaper, but it is something that I never pursued.  It’s still just a hobby, but photography gives Al and me the opportunity to share an interest, take photo-walks, and pause and take in what is around us.

The one thing (or multiple things) I hate doing on the weekend are chores (housecleaning, laundry, etc.).  I say, “Do it during the week, and leave the weekends for fun!”

Andrew: Weekends for me are pretty busy with the kids, ballet studios, catching up from the week.  If I can, I like to find some time to catch a show, support a local theater or spend a little time in the city.

Allie: Now that I’m living closer to New York City, I love going in to visit friends, eat good food, and take a class at Broadway Dance Center.

I have to go with Luciana - laundry is one of the worst weekend activities, but I can never find any other time to do it.

Miscast!  If you could play one role that for some reason (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.) that would not normally play, what would it be?  Why?

Brian: Janet from The Drowsy Chaperone. No question.

Luciana: Aaron Burr from Hamilton. His songs are stellar, plus I secretly like to rap.

Crisanto: Cassie from A Chorus Line because I’d love to learn the Cassie dance.

Lara: I’d love to play Pippin’s grandmother (too young) in Pippin or Matilda (too old) in Matilda.

Thom: So, I have decided that before I die, I need to play the following roles: Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! and Mama Rose in Gypsy… I'm apparently going to live forever.

Kai: Belle in Beauty and the Beast - I kind of love Disney, and this was one of the first animated-films-turned-stage-productions that was written in a musical production format.  Belle is a strong character with heart and conviction.  And, maybe Velma in Chicago . . . ‘cause, Fosse, nothing else needed.

Andrew: Wait - there’s a role I’m not right for?  Ummm . . . Eva in Evita would be a fun role to try. There are really so many, it’s hard to choose!

Allie: Eva in Evita (sorry, Andy, we’ll have to fight it out). I will never have the voice for that role, but the music is incredible, and the character is so complex and interesting.

Some of the Cagelles in The Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles (Photo Credit: Al Ragone). 

Some of the Cagelles in The Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles (Photo Credit: Al Ragone). 

Of what are you most proud?

Brian: During the summer of 2015, I started getting paid to perform. It was an incredible feeling of validation, and got me on track to start earning EMC points, moving my theater hobby into a profession.

Luciana: I recently booked a commercial for Regina Pizzeria. Although I consider the theater to be my home, it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me as an actress.

Crisanto: I’m most proud of the life that I’ve built with my husband.  We’ve been together for 22 years and got legally married as soon as it became an option 12 years ago.  Our relationship has been the biggest source of personal growth for me.

Lara: I’m proud of the way I’ve been able to keep musical theatre and choreography in my life, despite choosing a different career path. It’s something that was important to me and that I have kept a priority, despite the fact that it would have been easier to give it up at times.

Thom: I'm proud of the work that I've done. From this chubby little boy from small town central Massachusetts who couldn't play t-ball to being able to perform alongside these super talented people . . . It's sort of nuts! I'd never have thought that life would have led me to being nominated with these crazy ladies and lady-boys for singing and dancing in glitter and wigs and heels and feathers and “sparkle dust, bugle beads, ankle straps, maribu . . . ”

Kai: Keeping theater as a passion, balanced (although sometimes teetering) with our home, and work.  Sometimes, one definitely outweighs some others, and, at different times, but for the most part, with the help of Al, and my friends and colleagues, I’m able to still enjoy theater.  Oh, and that I can still kick shoulder height.

Andrew: Probably my kids - I have three girls that just amaze me all the time.  They’re all dancers - trained in classical ballet but have picked up all the disciplines and they are so much better than I ever was or will be!

Allie: I had hip surgery about 5 years ago and I set a goal for myself that I would recover better than ever and get paid to perform. I am proud that I was able to accomplish those goals, and sooner than I ever expected.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

Brian: I’m actually in Mary Poppins at Wheelock Family Theater with several other ArtsImpulse Nominees.

Luciana: I just finished my first solo choreography production of Mary Poppins, and I am currently working on Jekyll and Hyde at Pentucket Players.

Crisanto: I have a callback this week for a production of Spamalot.  If that doesn’t work out, I’ll just continue to teach Zumba, do the occasional photo project, and travel.

Lara: I am happy to have a busy Spring! I just finished working on movement for Merrimack College’s production of Big Love, which opens mid-February 2016, and I am choreographing Hair at The Umbrella, Cabaret at Marblehead Little Theatre, Once on This Island at Peabody High School, and Shrek at Saugus High School, all of which open between April and May 2016. My goal is to perform in another show after taking a break this summer.

Thom: I'm currently rehearsing for two shows...5 nights a week, so I'm pretty busy. I'll playing the Emcee in Theatre at the Mount’s Cabaret opening at the end of February 2016, and also I get to perform as Peter Allen in Arlington Friends of the Drama’s The Boy from Oz, which runs the first three weekends in April 2016.

Kai: I have the pleasure of working with Lara on Cabaret, as her assistant, at Marblehead Little Theater, and as Nate in a new play, The Maid, in the Common Room, with the Fiance at Flyleaf Theatre Company.  And, hopefully, I’ll have a couple more projects in the early summer and fall 2016 . . . but, those are not confirmed yet.  It seems, this year, I’ll be working on more creative teams behind the scenes than on stage treading the boards!

Some of the Cagelles in The Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles (Photo Credit: Al Ragone).

Some of the Cagelles in The Umbrella's La Cage Aux Folles (Photo Credit: Al Ragone).

Andrew: I have a couple of small gigs this spring.  I float in an out of a group called Voices of Hope who raise funds for cancer research.  So, I’m slated to dance a number in Fiddler on the Roof with them in May 2016 at the North Shore Music Theater.  But otherwise, I’ve tried to keep myself pretty open.

Allie: I am six months pregnant, so my current projects are gestating this little being, and taking dance classes with what feels like a bowling ball strapped to my stomach.

Do you have anything else to share with our ArtsImpulse readers?

Brian: So honored to have this show nominated. Maureen Festa’s amazing costumes, Elissa Jordan’s excellent stage management, and my fellow Cagelles’ amazing talent and energy. What a great experience.

Luciana: This show was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I am truly humbled to have been a part of such a wonderful production with such an exuberantly talented cast. Thank you, ArtsImpulse, for this nomination!

Crisanto: La Cage is one of those shows that isn’t often produced, so I’m thrilled to have had the chance to do it, and with such an amazing company, production team, and cast too!  It will always be a special one for me.  I’m truly grateful that there’s such a great theater community here in New England and that there are so many people who support community theater especially.

Lara: Thank you for this nomination; this show was a special one to be a part of and it is so exciting to have others recognize how special it was as well!

Thom: This nomination needs to be shared with so many more people: From our director, choreographer, music director to our costumer (Maureen who is also nominated) to our Wig Designer (Jake Egan) and our Make-Up Designer/Drag-Mama (Michael Geary) and to the rest of the production team, cast and crew.  We could not have done this without all of them!!! I'm honored to have been involved with this show, and it is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Kai: Everyone put so much heart, sweat, sore arches, pins and needles, hairspray, glitter, and time into this production. I am so happy that our production was recognized, from creative and performance perspectives.  The Greater Boston Theater community is one of the most unique in the nation, where we collaborate so much with each other, and across theaters, that I find myself very proud to just be able to be a part of it.

Andrew: I’ve had the opportunity to audition for La Cage several times and have always passed on it for one reason or another.  I’m thrilled and very grateful to Peyton and The Umbrella that I got to finally do it!  My gratification came with seeing the character I created come to life for an audience - this nomination is just a little icing on the cake.  I’m really glad that our audiences enjoyed it night after night.  It was a wonderful cast and now a wonderful new group of friends. 

Allie: Thank you for this nomination! I am so proud and so grateful to have been part of this production. It really was an amazing collaboration with every single person involved being a critical part. Like Kai said, the Greater Boston Theater community is very special, and I can’t believe I got to be a part of it for a time.