I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look,
Give me the hook or the ovation.
It’s my world that I want
to take a little pride in,
My world, and it’s not a place
I have to hide in.
Life’s not worth a damn,
’Til you can say, “Hey world,
I am what I am.”
To some, La Cage aux Folles should be R-rated. It’s got men dancing in heels, a nightclub in Saint-Tropez and same-sex parents. But for Kraig-Paul Proulx, the musical carries a powerful and straightforward message of acceptance, love and the importance of family — a message every parent should want their children to hear. And with lyrics like the above, it’s hard to disagree with him.
Proulx will play Albin in Suzart Productions’ upcoming performance. Albin’s drag queen alter ego, Zaza, is the star attraction at his partner Georges’s nightclub. When Georges’s son, Jean-Michel, brings his fiancée’s conservative parents home to meet him, things get a bit crazy. And very funny. And, ultimately, quite meaningful.
Proulx has always wanted to play the role of Albin/Zaza. “This is my dream role, as I’m sure it is for any gay male performer,” he says. “I get to sing ‘I Am What I Am’ every night. I have goose bumps thinking about it.”
The people at Suzart Productions thought long and hard about opening their 2014/2015 season with La Cage. The company is family-run and puts on shows for the entire family. They even have a mentoring program for young people interested in the theatre. So, would parents want to bring their kids to see men high-kicking in heels?
“That’s a little bit scary for a family theatre company,” Proulx says. “But some of us really pushed the idea that it’s about family, about love, about acceptance. It’s more than just drag queens onstage. It’s about a family — a different kind, but a family nonetheless.”