Interview with actor, James Vasquez, of SDMT’s “La Cage Aux Folles”

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is the musical that inspired the movie The Birdcage (starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane). LA CAGE AUX FOLLES La Cage tells the story of Georges, the owner of a glitzy nightclub in lovely St. Tropez, and his partner, Albin, who moonlights as the glamorous chanteuse, Zaza. When Georges’ son brings home his fiancée’s ultra conservative parents to meet the splashy pair, the bonds of family are put to the test!

It was my pleasure to do a phone interview with James Vasquez who is playing Jacob in the show at San Diego Musical Theatre.

The Playbill Collector (TPC): Tell me your background in theater.
James Vasquez (JV): Growing up, my dad was a baseball coach so I played baseball. However, he was also a poet so I was surrounded by artistic people. I started at the Patio Playhouse Theater in Escondido at age 9. At age 12, I did The Old Globe’s summer program which rocked my world.

TPC: Did you go to school for theater?
JV: Yes, I went to Juilliard and was in the drama department.

unnamedTPC: Did you stay in New York City after college?
JV: Yes, I lived there for many years and did Shakespeare in the Park as well as Regional shows.

TPC: What brought you back to San Diego?

JV: I was asked to do a show here and stayed ever since. I’ve been doing “The Grinch” for 12 years at The Globe. After a few years of performing in it, they asked me to Direct. Since then, I have mostly been directing shows as opposed to being on the stage.

TPC: You are currently playing Jacob in “La Cage Aux Folles”. Why did you decide to come back on stage? Was it show specific?
JV: It’s been almost eight years since I’ve been on stage. I was called and asked to be in the show and I said yes!

TPC: What’s your favorite moment of the show?
JV: That’s hard to say because every time I come on stage, I’m in a different costume. I love the finale! It’s the first time I got my dance shoes on in years! It’s a big, flashy closing number which is exciting.

TPC: What do you want people to know who haven’t seen it?
JV: It’s a big, campy, drag show but at its heart, it has a beautiful message about family. It’s very relevant to today’s society. Audiences are in for a treat. I want them to be moved.

TPC: If could pick any show to direct, what would you pick?
JV: I’m obsessed with “The Wild Party”. This is my embarrassing one but I would love to direct “Annie”.

TPC: What’s a role you would love to play?
JV: J Pierpont Finch in “How To Succeed”

TPC: If you could direct an actor dead or alive, who would choose?
JV: Growing up I was obsessed with Mickey Rooney so I’d be happy to even have lunch with.

TPC: What’s next?
JV: There’s definitely the bug to be back on stage. I love directing though and right after “La Cage” closes, I go back to “The Grinch”. I’m also going to be directing “42nd Street” at SDMT.

For tickets and info on the show, check out:
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