Interview: Ivan Heng for La Cage Aux Folles

Why was this the right moment to stage the musical?Glen Goei, the director, saw the original in the 1980s. It is fabulous, funny, touching and has something important to say. Our previous attempts to stage it were impacted by SARS and the recession, but this time round, the stars are aligned, and nothing is going to get in our way.Can you draw any parallels between your life and that of your character Albin/Zaza?Hair, makeup, feather boas, sequins, high heels, corsets, girdles and diets.Tell me about your costumes.Our costume designer Frederick Lee created an entire wardrobe of couture gowns. Hand-finished with sequins, crystals, mirrors, feathers and fur, they each weigh up to 15kg. They are ingeniously cut and proportioned to give Zaza a va-va-voom hour-glass figure.If you had to pick another role to play in the show, what would it be? Hossan Leong’s. He plays Jacob, who is Albin’s “personal handmaiden”. He wants so much to be in show business, he tries on Zaza’s gowns when Albin’s not looking. It’s a screamingly funny role with a lot of heart.Do you have a favorite song from the show?“I Am What I Am”. It’s an anthem for anyone who has ever felt different, looked down upon or discriminated against. It reminds us all to live life on our own terms because to quote the song, “Life’s not worth a damn, till you can say, ‘Hey world! I am what I am!’”.Ivan Heng will perform in La Cage Aux Folles on July 20, 23-27, 8pm; 21-22, 28-29, 3pm; July 30-August 3, 8; Aug 4, 3pm at the Esplanade Theatre.