Gay Marshall has plenty of reasons to smile these days. The accomplished actress is in the current touring production of La Cage aux Follesand in between, she’s lighting up stages living out her life’s dream singing blues and Edith Piaf songs. But it’s easy to become enamored with Marshall’s effervescent personality. She loves what she’s doing it’s obvious in her work.
“I absolutely love playing Jacqueline in La Cage,” Marshall said. “She’s so much fun because she’s a cross between Patsy and Edina from Ab Fab and Rue McClanahan from The Golden Girls. “This character wasn’t in The Birdcage, but I’m so glad she’s in the play.”
Marshall has visited about 17 cities touring with the play which centers on a gay couple who goes to extreme measures to impress their son’s stuffy future in laws in a whimsical tale of unconditional love, acceptance and the glory of staying true to who you really are. The New York-based actress is having a blast going to places she’s never been. “Traveling with a show is a wonderful way to see the world,” Marshall exclaimed. “Some of these old theaters are such a privilege to perform in such as The Majestic in San Antonio.”
On the road, Marshall says 24-hour gyms, Whole Foods and plenty of trips to Starbucks keep her in tiptop shape. “I think caffeine is great for staying in shape,” she added. “And I love to walk.”
Working with George Hamilton in La Cage aux Folles also keeps Marshall on her A-game. “George is consistently hilarious,” Marshall said. “He’s remarkable. He’s self-deprecating and he’s fun all the time. I absolutely love working with him.”
Marshall is also in awe of the show’s other cast members. “This cast gives 100 percent every night,” Marshall emphasized. “You really can’t get complacent on the road and it becomes a good kind of pressure. And this cast is also a lot of fun. During the intermission, I can usually be found playing Bananagrams backstage with dancers in the show.”
Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Marshall always knew she wanted to be an actress bur never imagined her journey to the stage would eventually lead her to Paris where she would learn French, meet her future husband and pen her own one-woman show based on the comedic awkwardness of being too American in France. She later embarked on another dream and recorded two albums, Gay Marshall Sings Piaf, which was released in 2008 and a blues album, Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night! in 2011. Both CDs are available on her web site, Gaymarshall.com.
“Recording my Edith Piaf CD brought me enormous joy,” Marshall added. “It was not a commercially born project. Listening to Edith Piaf’s work really taught me how to sing.”
In between her own concerts, Marshall feels fortunate to be a part of the La Cage cast. “What’s great about this show is that it’s from the ‘70s but it’s still really timely and pertinent,” Marshall said. “This play is moving and funny. What’s better than that? Everybody’s point of view is equally represented and it demonstrates the motto ‘Live and let live.’ It also teaches us to enjoy everyone else while we’re doing it.”
La Cage aux Folles will be at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale June 12-24. Tickets cost $25.50-$69.50. Call 954-462-0222 or visit Browardcenter.org.
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