Drag Star Wanda D’Parke Talks New Role In ‘La Cage Aux Folles’


Audiences will see a familiar face in Brisbane theatre group Nash Theatre’s upcoming production of La Cage Aux Folles.

Ross Waghorn, who performs as drag queen Wanda D’Parke (pictured, right) will star in the iconic musical, which follows nightclub owner Georges and drag queen Albin.

“It’s set in St Tropez in the South of France. Georges is my husband and I play Albin, who’s the lead drag star Zaza at the La Cage aux Folles nightclub,” Ross explained.

“They have a son who is getting married and and his partner’s parents are very conservative political figures, who disapprove of gay marriage and want to outlaw drag queens and outlaw gays. It’s very timely and touches on marriage, equality and relationships in general.

“There’s lots of laughs and twists, and a lot of interaction with the audience. With the way that [director Leo Bradley] is bringing this musical to the stage, it’s a very interactive presentation.

“We bring certain parts or certain scenes of the play into the audience. We’re doing our best to involve the audience as much as possible and make them have the best time.

Audiences may also recognise the plotline from Hollywood’s 1996 remake The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. But Nash Theatre’s production of Harvey Fierstein’s stage adaptation will include all of Jerry Herman’s famous songs.

“The most well known – I’m so glad I get to do it – is ‘I Am What I Am’. Most people will probably know Shirley Bassey’s version, and Gloria Gaynor did an amazing dance version at one point. That’s the show’s main ballad, but there’s some other beautiful songs in it as well,” he said.

But Ross won’t be playing Wanda in the show.

“What I generally tell people is Ross and Wanda are the same person except Wanda gets away with more. Wanda’s is part of my dark side so I can get dressed up, put a mask on and she gets away with murder!” he explained.

“But for this show I’m being billed as Ross, and I’ll have totally different face and hair. You’ll see me as both a male and a drag queen.

“This is my second soiree with Nash Theatre, which is a very dedicated and talented and capable community theater group and they’re well known in the community. We’ve got a fantastic team on board, on stage and behind stage so we’re looking forward to a great season.”

La Cage Aux Folles is at Nash Theatre in New Farm from September 23 to October 14. For tickets visit the Nash Theatre website. Listen to the full interview with Ross below:

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