A veteran of the stage, actor Ian Simpson makes his Neptune Theatre debut as Georges – the dashing, man-about-town and co-owner of La Cage aux Folles in Neptune Theatre’s current production of the same name. Recently AE spoke with the thespian about his profession and the frisky French farce.
What inspired you to start acting?
I grew up on a farm in Ontario. I dreamed of an exciting "other world" beyond my life on the farm and wanted to tell these stories. I would re-enact what I would see in the movies for my family in our living room.
Are they the same reasons that you do it today?
Funny enough, yes. I still love to tell stories especially something as relevant as La Cage aux Folles. And as an added note - I recently moved back to my farm house in Ontario.
What are the biggest challenges of the profession?
Actors don't have jobs for life - it is contract work. We are always looking for the next job but if you're passionate about what you do you will continue to persevere.
What are the rewards?
Moving people. Making people laugh, cry, care.
How did you get involved with La Cage aux Folles?
I wrote to George Pothitos, the Artistic Director of Neptune Theatre, to tell him that I was interested in auditioning for him. I went into an audition and got the role!
What do you enjoy about the role?
I play Georges in the show, the MC and owner of La Cage aux Folles. I love his sense of humour, his relationship with Albin, his instincts as a parent, his morality. I get to sing some great songs and play opposite the incredible Steven Gallagher.
What can audiences expect during the run?
They can expect to be thoroughly entertained. The script is very funny, the music is wonderful (by Jerry Herman who also wrote Hello, Dolly and Mame), the dancing is out of this world (performed by our amazing Cagelles). This will be a show unlike any you have seen at Neptune!
What's next for you on the stage?
I'm playing John in a production of Calendar Girls back in Ontario.
La Cage aux Folles, at Neptune Theatre in Halifax until May 29.